Some of My Favorite Books

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert -- Life Sentence or A Good Thing?

Committed. The word, when I first saw it on the cover of Elizabeth Gilbert's latest book, inscribed on the inside of a gold wedding band, struck me as hilarious. I mean, committed. It's a humor book, surely! Committed. A life sentence. Penance for being stupid. That's my take on marriage these days. For me.

And Gilbert, who is best known for that little book a few years back--Eat, Pray, Love--I think felt (feels?) the same way, to a degree. The subtitle after all is "A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage." Maybe that was added by an editor? Maybe she really does buy it. I don't know. She admits she never planned on marrying again. Ever.

But as it turns out, she and her man that she met in Bali (at the end of EPL), "Felipe" (his real name is Jose, at least that's what I found from a quick Internet search) HAD to get married. Not because she was preggers or anything. No, if they wanted to stay together in the United States, they had to get married (if SHE was approved and if he successfully jumped through 50 or 60 hoops). It was that or he could no longer enter the United States because he was born in Brazil, and Homeland Security started cracking down big time on foreigners and how long they could stay in the U.S., or if they could be here at all.

So, Gilbert spent the next 10 months trotting the globe with Felipe/Jose reading books about marriage, talking to women everywhere she went about marriage, generally researching the institution of wedded bliss (tongue firmly in cheek) to write this book. One example of something she came across was when they were living in Southeast Asia, somewhere. They visited a woman who explained that her friend had to leave the village and go live in the city because she got divorced. The woman said, "A marriage is best when there is only one captain. It is easiest if the husband is the captain." See? That right there makes me feel sick because obviously I'm my own captain, and once I realized that and made peace with it, I got a lot happier. She didn't convince me. I think marriage is a made-up convention that works for some people and not so much for others. I'm one of the others.

Book ReadCommitted
Author:  Elizabeth Gilbert
ISBN: 978-0-670-02165-9

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