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

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  4,608 ratings  ·  553 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
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Plume (first published September 1st 2005)
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j
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
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Johnny
Aug 28, 2008 Johnny rated it 5 of 5 stars
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!
Adrianne Mathiowetz
Sep 29, 2008 Adrianne Mathiowetz rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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Tamara
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
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Rebecca
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."
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Christiana
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
Alan
May 08, 2013 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Sarah
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
Az
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
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Sarah
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
Xanthi
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
Faye
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
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Denise
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
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
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Melody
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
Nick
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
Nicola
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
Sophie
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
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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
Red
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
Keri
I found this book as I was checking it in at the library where I work. It was an interesting read from a totally different perspective than I would normally choose. I found it a bit too foul-mouthed at times and I definitely did not agree with the author's basic beliefs/choices. But he wrote well and argued pretty effectively some of the problems with the gay marriage debate. While my beliefs will never change about homosexuality due to my Christian faith, I found much of what he said thought-pr ...more
BarbN
This is the third book of Savage's that I've read in as many months, and it's the one I'm most conflicted about. If I'd put the book down at any of several different points, I might have rated it five stars or three or even two.

When I was reading the first section next to my sleeping spouse, it was all I could do not to wake him up laughing. But then there was the part where, while walking through the Seattle Wedding Expo, he makes sweeping generalizations about all women wanting fairy princess
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Karen
I didn't realize when I grabbed this as an audiobook loan from the library that it was from 2005. Oh how the Western world has changed! When Savage wrote this, he and his boyfriend Terry couldn't legally wed in the state of Washington. I listened in 2014, when (I'm so happy to say), gay folks have been getting legally married in Washington for about a year and a half.

The book is a lengthy, acerbic, sometimes funny and sometimes thought-provoking meditation on what it means to marry--to couples,
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Mary
I like "Savage Love". I applaud the "It Gets Better" project. In general, I'm very happy that Dan Savage is around and shares his thoughts and opinions with the world. However, I think it's best left in short advice column form. I give this 3 stars because I found parts of the book funny and am very interested in the topic. I wish he stuck more with stories about his family and less with getting on a soapbox about gay marriage. I'm guessing that most people who read this book are already fans of ...more
Valerie
Wow! I wonder if anyone will read this if I tuck it into the school library? Hidden among the usual snide comments and oversharing in graphic detail, are some wonderfully tender family moments. Some classic moments of marriage, some excellent research into the issue of gay marriage and the culture of gay marriage as well as some well reasoned arguments. The discussions between him and his brother that point out the hypocrisy of the marriage is only for us side are fantastic.
Maija
This book is {happily} dated, as the gay marriage debate has come a long, long way since this book was published in 2004. Somehow I missed this book when it came out, but I came across it randomly at the library last week, so why not? I have been a long time fan of Savage from reading his column as an innocent college freshman in the Seattle's Stranger to an earlier book (The Kid) about his experience as a same-sex couple doing open adoption. It was nice to catch back up with Dan and his partner ...more
David
Dan Savage has probably done more to alter my ideas about relationships and sexual intimacy than just about anyone else, so I figured this book was worth a read.

While I enjoyed the book for the personal revelations and humorous anecdotes contained within its pages, the book is clearly dated. That's more a knock on my reading a book nearly a decade after it came out than a knock on the book itself, but still. Savage intersperses the narrative about his marriage to his longtime boyfriend Terry wi
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Jays
I've been listening to Dan Savage's podcast for a few years now, so reading this was a bit of a throwback given how much has happened since the time it was written. It's also a bit bittersweet given how much a presence his mother was in this book, knowing that she died not too long after. It's understandable then that this becomes a personal look at marriage and the reasons why and why not to do it, not just for a gay couple but for anyone. Savage benefits from having a variety of family models ...more
Kaje Harper
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.
Cecelia
Wanted to read this after I heard Dan Savage do several hilarious pieces on This American Life. I think he is better in radio then in one book (and I had already heard the funniest part of this book on the air), but it still was a fast, funny read about gay marriage and the author's experience.
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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
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More about Dan Savage...
The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics Skipping Towards Gomorrah It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living Savage Love: Straight Answers from America's Most Popular Sex Columnist

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“...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
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