Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family” as Want to Read:
The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  5,247 Ratings  ·  602 Reviews
In a time when much of the country sees red whenever the subject of gay marriage comes up, Dan Savage-outspoken author of the column "Savage Love"- makes it personal.

Dan Savage's mother wants him to get married. His boyfriend, Terry, says "no thanks" because he doesn't want to act like a straight person. Their six-year-old son DJ says his two dads aren't "allowed" to get
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published September 1st 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Commitment, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Commitment

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I am getting married in a little over a month. I am fortunately able to do this, because I am a heterosexual. If I was not, my attempt to enter into a legally-binding, stable relationship with my significant other would apparently rock the very foundations of the institution, and possibly turn a bunch of small, innocent children into drag queens, like some kind of ray gun.

Dan Savage, famous syndicated sexual advice columnist (and now über-famous homosexual) either is or is not married to his lon
Sep 02, 2016 Kasia rated it liked it
Two gays in committed relationships don't want to get married because they don't want to act "straight". What follows are laugh out loud adventures of those two homos as they navigate through life and parenthood while trying to avoid their large republican conservative families.
And they have a gay dog whose original name was Pee-R!
Adrianne Mathiowetz
Sep 29, 2008 Adrianne Mathiowetz rated it liked it
Recommended to Adrianne by: Angie
If you, like me, are wondering what the heck the deal is with marriage and "traditional values" and staying together forever and how politics, love and law intertwine: well then, this book is probably for you.

Part memoir, part politics, Dan Savage is his usual fun and hilarious self in this book. He also makes some great, occasionally cutting points, especially in his "Borrowed" and "Blue" chapters. Shit! I stole 'The Gay Lifestyle' for my straight self!

Think about the way many straight people
Aug 28, 2008 Johnny rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kristen
Oh man this one was good too! In this book, Dan Savage devotes a lot more time to research on his subject than he did in The Kid, which was more more a personal narrative than this one. This one is still a memoir, telling the tale of the gay marriage issue in his relationship, but I loved how he actually brings in lots of quotes and references to other sources. Most of it is still ridiculously funny, but I found myself crying a lot reading this book! It's a great read!
Let's talk about tone for a minute:

All stories written with an agenda, whether you agree with the agenda or not, tend to sound forced and opinionated and in-your-face. That would probably be my main criticism of this book. When you've had to spend your whole life defending your choices to others, you come off sounding, um...defensive. And maybe a bit rude. I don't think that wins you any friends in the other camp, or helps you to change people's minds about a emotionally-charged topic.

Now, let
I remember really liking this when the rest of book club was a little uneven about it, and I somehow never put my favorite quotes in Goodreads (what?!) and just came across my list of them, so here they are! Lots of relationship food for thought. (Also, I couldn't help smiling at the descriptions of the Saugatuck, MI community, because I stayed there once.)

"...we're both contentedly solitary people. Which is part of what makes us so good together: We know when and how to leave each other alone."
Dan Savage reminds me of that guy at a party. You know, the guy who starts talking and seems pretty interesting. You heard about him from your friends and his life is atypical. You wouldn't mind hearing a little about it. But then he opens his mouth and you realize how self-congratulatory he is and that (Dan hopes) you're just there to marvel at him. Suddenly, you can't get away. You search over his shoulder while he drones on, looking for an escape method, but no one comes. He doesn't even noti ...more
I only read a few chapters of this before I put it down. I went into it knowing I had mixed feelings about Savage, and this book only confirmed them. Ive laughed and applauded plenty of his articles but, somewhat expectedly, it didn't take long after starting this book before I just got sick of reading his negativity, his jabs at overweight people, his derogatory use of the word "pussy" etc. I'm sure he would just mock me for being overly sensitive and PC but his book just wasn't a world I wante ...more
Ana Maria Rînceanu
Read it in a day. It was so engrossing, filled with humor and it highlighted how much our idea of commitment has evolved and will continue to evolve. You really see the differences when comparing the straight ideal of marriage (perfected to the point of discomfort) and the gay ideal (testing the waters and adapting old traditions).
Manik Sukoco
Jan 01, 2016 Manik Sukoco rated it really liked it
Dan Savage is by far at his best and funniest when he sticks to memoir, reporting on the squabbles and crises of his daily life. That's why this book is much better than the last one, "Skipping Towards Gomorrah," which tended to veer into ranting and contrivances, but not quite as good as "The Kid," which had a little more meat to its story.
Here, the back-stories of his relatives and their marriages or lack of them are moderately interesting. There are a few anti-religious-right rants that go on
May 08, 2013 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Couples, though not exclusively
Recommended to Alan by: Roberta
The Commitment didn't change my mind about gay marriage. But then, it didn't have to—I was already in favor. I don't see where the state has any right to deny its formal recognition to the relationships of people like Dan Savage and Terry, his partner of ten years (at the time). Nor—speaking as a married guy in a relationship that's just about as heteronormative in structure as it could be—do I see how gay marriage could possibly be a threat to, or even affect, my own commitment. So Savage was p ...more
Jan 29, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
I don't agree with all his statements (I am pro-monogamy and think that it is realistic-- also, I don't think his menage a trois(es?) count as cheating or violating monogamous principles), but this book makes me feel better about all the angst and drama I had about my own wedding to my boyfriend of 13 years. We had a similar on-the-down-low ceremony and a big official ceremony and party and I wish I had read this book way before I had gotten married because a lot of this speaks to me and would h ...more
Made me laugh and cry. Enjoyable and touching. Classic Dan Savage. The political arguments dragged just a tad sometimes, but the personal stories were highly entertaining. I'm glad this book is already so politically "outdated".
Mar 21, 2008 Az rated it really liked it
Shelves: gender-etc
fun times! this was a reread for me (instead of struggling to write about executive power while blocking out hideous music next door), and i really enjoy this book.
it changes setting often enough to keep it interesting, from the real-time to the self-speculative to family history to current events--but not so often that it's confusing.
the kid is cute, the writing is sharp, the feelings are honest. not to mention the detail-orientated style of the discussion, it's got more than a few angles tha
Jul 23, 2016 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
Loved the first third when they are on vacation with extended family. My interest wandered too much half way through. My stack of books from the library is too large to keep reading something that isn't a page turner right now.
Nov 03, 2015 Trish rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I *adore* Dan Savage. and I enjoyed this book too, but I was very disappointed to find that the audiobook narration is not done by Dan himself. He brings so much character to his narrations and I'm so used to his voice and mannerisms that it was jarring to hear such a personal story in someone else's voice. Nor do I think the entertainment value was quite as high as The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant. Giving it a four anyways because I'm a crazy fan, but I ...more
Kaje Harper
May 02, 2011 Kaje Harper rated it it was amazing
I just reread this for the nth time. I love the author's voice, his sense of humor and his ability to make a point without preaching. This is one of those books I wish more straight people on the gay-marriage fence would read because they would get the point while laughing. If you haven't read it, go do that now.
Feb 04, 2015 Xanthi rated it really liked it
This is my first book by Dan Savage and I definitely want to read more by him because this book delivered on so many levels. It was funny (I was in a fit of giggles many, many times), educational (I realized how little I knew about the legal issues surrounding gay marriage and adoption in the USA), and thought provoking. This last element was the clincher for me. I found myself thinking about marriage, not only in the context of same sex couples, but in general. (The term 'grand romantic gesture ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Stephen rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I thought it could be a great insight into the the factors that a successful gay couple took into consideration when making the decision to get married. Instead, the vast majority of it was full of bitter diatribes, backdoor bragging, and ambivalence about marriage. I'm not sure that I would enjoy spending time with either Dan or Terry, and you don't really empathize with either of them. I can enjoy Dan Savage in small doses (podcasts, articles, etc), but an en ...more
Jul 07, 2012 Faye rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, I thought this book would be heartwarming and funny.

However, much of this book was like being forced to endure an opinionated and overbearing relative tell you the way it is for several hours. Dan Savage makes little effort to disguise his intense dislike for fat people, straight people, women, and even dogs throughout and listening to such a bitter narration does little to gain the support or interest of this reader. It got a little better towards the end, but not enough to re
Oct 11, 2011 Denise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dan and Terry have been a gay couple for ten years, they have a son together, and they plan to stay together forever, so why wouldn't they want to get married? Terry doesn't want to act like straight people and Dan is rebelling against his mother's oft expressed desires. They compromise on getting matching "Property of" tattoos and begin planning a 10th anniversary party that soon begins to feel suspiciously like a wedding reception. As the two of the struggle through their feelings about the in ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Nov 30, 2010 Meg - A Bookish Affair rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010
I read this book after reading a review on one of my favorite blogs, A Practical Wedding (yes, I still read it even though I'm now married; it's a great, down to earth source about what it means to be married without giving into WIC- wedding industrial complex).

Dan Savage, writer and sex advice columnist, has been with his boyfriend for ten years and they have a son together. Dan and his boyfriend can't legally get married because they are two men. Dan explores what it means to be married. Do yo
May 16, 2012 Melody rated it it was amazing
This book was shocking and touching and thought provoking and one of the best books I have ever read. I was not familiar with Dan Savage prior to hearing an interview about this book on NPR. Of course, he did not use the same graphic language or extremely open depictions and discussions of sex in his interview that he did in his book or that he uses in his sex advice column. While I got an education (much needed) about what might be going on in my sons sex lives, I also got an education about ma ...more
May 12, 2010 Nicholas rated it liked it
I really liked Savage's book, The Kid (about his and his boyfriend's adoption of their son), but this one, not so much. Part of it is that he presents such logical explanations (good ones, but I've made up my mind, I'll admit) throughout the book for choosing one option in the to-marry-or-not-to-marry debate and then goes and does exactly the opposite. He also tells us over and over again how hot his boyfriend is (once or twice would have been sufficient). He continually emphasizes that he bring ...more
Nov 09, 2008 Nicola rated it really liked it
This is part memoir -- the long road that Dan and his boyfriend, Terry take to saying "I do" -- and part discussion of modern relationships and what marriage means (its original meanings; its evolution; why defenders of "traditional values" are talking out of their asses). Some people write Dan Savage off as an insufferable asshole (which he is, sometimes), but he's also a well-informed and thought-provoking narrator on life issues. This book made me think hard about marriage. It's also a great ...more
Aug 25, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it
( Now that I know Dan Savage apologized and has evolved his previously harmful views on the bisexual community (if you're a part of the LGBT+ community, I don't understand why you wouldn't support the whole diverse community), I felt much more comfortable completing the audiobook. )

Now that that's out of the way, I found this book delightfully blunt and crass, while still being heartwarming and charming about love and various types of relationships (parents, children, significant others, etc). I
Dec 13, 2015 Alicia rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Although I've listened to the Savage Lovecast for many years, this is the first of Dan's books I've read. Overall, I found it a fun and enjoyable read. His anecdotes are amusing, and I always love to hear him call out and castigate anti-gay crazies. My only real quibble with the book is that although Dan rails against oppression, there are some cringe-worthy moments of blindness to his privilege, including some painful/offensive jokes directed at other identity groups. My sense from listening to ...more
Aug 15, 2012 Sophie rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I loved this book. I don't always agree with Dan Savage, but I really enjoyed reading about his path to marriage. He is hilarious and honest, and I think I fell in love with the beautiful Terry a little bit too. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about what it means to be married and the nature of love and commitment.

I definitely agree with other reviewers that Savage can be a bit acerbic about certain issues (that is probably a huge understatement) but since I am a grouchy N
Maughn Gregory
First, I'm so proud of my small-town, southern Utah county library for offering this audiobook! I've always liked Dan Savage when he gets angry on TV over the latest right-wing atrocity and I enjoy his podcast sometimes but, not having actually read him, I had no idea he was such a brilliant memoirist and essayist. As a fairly politically-involved man in an almost 20-year gay partnership, who also raised a child, I thought I had thought through and lived out all the political, social, economic a ...more
Dec 22, 2011 Red rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, queer
The Commitment was funny, readable, and illuminating. Here's what I learned: that lingering sense that, while Dan Savage is kind of generally assumed to be on my team because our Kinsey scores are similar, he's actually kind of a douche and would sell me out in a heartbeat? it's pretty accurate. he may be gay, openly sexual, and monogamish, but this man is pretty socially conservative. he and I do not share politics. I stopped feeling betrayed by him as I read this book, and instead felt an unde ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever
  • That's Mr. Faggot to You: Further Trials from My Queer Life
  • Openly Bob
  • Exile in Guyville: How a Punk Rock Redneck Faggot Texan Moved to West Hollywood and Refused to Be Shiny and Happy
  • How I Learned to Snap: A Small Town Coming-Out and Coming-of-Age Story
  • Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son: A Memoir
  • Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir
  • The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir
  • Following Foo: The Electronic Adventures of the Chestnut Man
  • Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform
  • Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival
  • One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love
  • Oddly Normal: One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality
  • Love Stories: Sex between Men before Homosexuality
  • Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division
  • Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America
  • Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the Us Military
  • Confessions of the Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All!
Dan Savage is a writer, TV personality, and activist best known for his political and social commentary, as well as his honest approach to sex, love and relationships.

Savage’s sex advice column, “Savage Love,” is syndicated in newspapers and websites throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. He is the Editorial Director of The Stranger, Seattle’s weekly alternative newspaper, and his
More about Dan Savage...

Share This Book

“...the moment you begin to believe you're worthy of the good things in your life - God gets all Old Testament on your ass and does something vicious, something insane, something totally uncalled for. He gives you lupus or He allows Satan to slaughter your children and cattle or He delivers Ohio to George W. Bush.” 7 likes
More quotes…