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

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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  3,829 ratings  ·  509 reviews

The true story of a marriage (not really), a lovable and relentless mother, a six-year old who says his parents cannot get married (but wants to go to the reception), a partner who doesn't want to act like a straight person, and the author, who has written a hilarious and poignant memoir about making The Commitment.

There is no hotter issue than gay marriage in the cultur

...more
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published September 22nd 2005 by Dutton Adult (first published September 1st 2005)
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Joel
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...more
Johnny
Aug 28, 2008 Johnny rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition 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!
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...more
Adrianne Mathiowetz
Sep 29, 2008 Adrianne Mathiowetz rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Alan
May 08, 2013 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars 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
Becky
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."...more
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
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
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.
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.
anexactinglife
I had already read Dan Savage's book The Kid, in which he and his partner Terry adopt a child. The Commitment is quite different. It continues Dan and Terry's personal story, based around their decision whether or not to get married. It also includes a lot of research and reporting on the "issue" of gay marriage in the US. I wish I had read this book when it came out in 2005 because it would have still been topical for us Canadians. (Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada since 2004). Sadly,...more
Lori Summers
After reading this book and his other memoir, I feel like I know Dan's family, and it's great to catch up with them. Dan makes many different points about the gay marriage debate from a very personal perspective.
Jane
I have recently become hooked on the Savage Lovecast and was interested in reading one of his books. I found his voice came across so differently in the book than on his podcast. There are still many moments of humorous political and sexual ranting but he also expresses a lot of sensitivity and vulnerability – which was a nice surprise! An exploration of marriage based around Dan’s own long term (gay) relationship and the opinions of his (highly vocal) family members. A revealing insight into ma...more
Briana Myricks
I bought this audiobook back in 2012 but just now listened to it. I had no idea what to expect, and I think it actually worked out better that way. Dan Savage wrote about his partner Terry, his son DJ, his loving family, and how marriage does and doesn't work for some couples. His commentary was hilarious, and his conversations with others (mainly his family members) about marriage made great points, for both, straight and same-sex couples. The narrator, Paul Michael Garcia, made the audiobook e...more
Karen Corcoran
Dan Savage is not half as funny as David Sedaris. However, the subject matter in this book is interesting. Dan makes up for his writing skills with some great situational humor.
Katie
Towards the end of this book I was thinking it would end up getting 3 stars on my Goodreads review...... but then after a fantastic book club discussion I realized it deserved 4.
I agree with everything Tamara says in her review. I am not sure this is a book intended to change people's minds when it comes to the gay marriage debate... we had a hard time trying to figure out who Dan Savage imagined his audience to be when we wrote this book.
After a lot of thought and book talking, I actually thin...more
Kaetrin
This book charts the course of Dan Savage and Terry Miller's journey to a marriage ceremony in Vancouver around their 10 year anniversary. There is a lot of discussion about marriage equality and family and it is delivered with Savage's trademark humour. I enjoyed it very much. My only real quibbles were with some names and facts which seemed to have changed from the previous book (which were easily noticeable to me as I read them back to back). For instance, Dan's nephew was "Mars" in The Kid b...more
Becky
The first book that I read of Dan Savage's was "The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant." Other than the incredibly long titles, I've enjoyed both of these two books.

The Commitment is all about Savage's relationship with his boyfriend and their neverending battle over whether or not to get married. Dan and Terry have been together for 10 years and are commited to one another, but both have specific reasons for avoiding the whole issue of marriage. They are par...more
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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...more
More about Dan Savage...
The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant Skipping Towards Gomorrah American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics 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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