Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Committed

I loved Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray Love and was excited to read that she was coming out with another memoir.

I had a giftcard to Border's from Christmas and found Committed, and bought it excitedly. I read it pretty quickly and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This second memoir basically picks up where Eat, Pray, Love leaves off. Elizabeth is with her Brazilian man and plans to spend the rest of her life with him-without being married to him. They have a lovely system worked out until he overstays his welcome in the U.S. and they are forced to marry in order to be together. In the months that follow, Elizabeth wrestles with her fears and misgivings surrounding a marriage being thrust upon her. She reflects on what was missing in her first marriage, and turns to everyone from marital scholars and academics, personal friends and family, Laotian tour-guides, and Hmong grandmothers in her quest to discover what makes a lasting and satisfying marriage. It's as much a story of marriage in general as it the story of Elizabeth's relationship. The book is also a revealing look at the journey that women have taken through the history of marriage and relationships. Regardless of your relationship status or plans, this book is worth reading for it's examination of a central institution in our society.

Although I am neither engaged nor married, I found the book riveting and deeply relevant to my life. As a child of divorce--and someone who hopes to get married sometime in the not too distant future--I am very concerned with what makes marriages happy and long-lasting. I'm pretty afraid of divorce, actually, and related to Elizabeth's concerns as she faced her impending nuptials. In a strange way, some of her findings were deeply comforting to me and gave me a great deal of hope--as they seemed to give the author as well.

Here are a couple of additional, more in depth reviews. One from Aidan of Ivy League Insecurities, and another from Elizabeth at Life in Pencil.

Finally, although it was quite different from her previous book, Eat, Pray, Love, I loved this one every bit as much. I had high expectations going in, and this one happened to live up to them. It got me thinking about second memoirs, though. Look for an upcoming post on second memoirs. I think it's a topic worth exploring.

Have you read Committed? Do you plan to? Is your decision swayed either way because of your impressions or experiences with Eat, Pray Love?

8 comments:

Ann Marie said...

Haven't read it yet, but will. I recently re-read EPL and was just as delighted as the first time around. Thanks for the review.

WhimsAndInconsistencies said...

I have your old copy of Eat, Pray, Love which I plan on reading sometime this year. :)

Caitlin said...

Ann Marie-I'd be interested to hear what you think of Committed when you do read it. I've been thinking I need to read EPL again as well!

McB-I read the above comment before I saw yours and starting thinking, I need to read that again. I wonder where it is. I never saw it in all my book unpacking. So now I know! You should read it!! You would like it! I think you might like committed more though. Read them both.

Carolyn said...

You know, I have absolutely zero nada desire to read this book. Not because I don't care about love or marriage or relationships, but the topic just doesn't interest me as far as a book is concerned. I adore Elizabeth Gilbert, but her love life was the part of Eat Pray Love I enjoyed the least. But maybe I should give it a shot??

Caitlin said...

Carolyn,
If you like Elizabeth Gilbert, I'd give it a shot. She tells a lot of stories about her family, and does meet various locals and have (a few) adventures in foreign lands like in EPL. I felt like I knew her more as a person after reading this book-not just about her love life. You're more than welcome to borrow my copy if you just want to look through it. We could meet for coffee or something!

pinksundrops said...

Oh my gosh I'm so excited to read this!! I adored Eat, Pray, Love, and had to read it in her tiny "chapters" because it gave me so much to process.

PS Do you live in AUstin yet??

Jamie said...

I've been putting off reading Gilbert's books, but you've convinced me. As has Julia Roberts.

Caitlin said...

I do live in Austin now!

Jamie-you should read them! And I am SO excited about the Julia Roberts adaptation!