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

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3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,039 Ratings  ·  582 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

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Hardcover, 291 pages
Published September 22nd 2005 by Dutton Adult (first published September 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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 it was amazing  ·  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!
Adrianne Mathiowetz
Sep 29, 2008 Adrianne Mathiowetz rated it liked it  ·  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
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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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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Alan
May 08, 2013 Alan rated it really liked it
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
Jan 29, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 21, 2008 Az rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Trish
Nov 03, 2015 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Xanthi
Feb 04, 2015 Xanthi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Stephen Weathers
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
Faye
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
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Denise
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
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
May 16, 2012 Melody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nicholas
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
Alicia
Dec 13, 2015 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sophie
Aug 15, 2012 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Dec 22, 2011 Red rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Keri
Feb 02, 2009 Keri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Holly Booms Walsh
This was pretty straightforward for a Dan Savage piece. It's part memoir, part very well-researched exposition piece on gay marriage rights and the struggle for them in America, and a nice exploration of what marriage means to the author (and to American society at large). It's well-written, thoughtful, and a bit abrupt and crass (it IS Dan Savage, after all). Sure, he gets on his soapbox about gay rights - that is his life and clearly his most heartfelt agenda. I didn't appreciate the undertone ...more
Rose Moore
Well-known sex-advice columnist Dan Savage tells his own story of deciding whether or not to marry his boyfriend in this funny and poignant book. In the process, he discusses the different ways that the ability to marry affects LGBT couples - from public opinion to legal ramifications and from political opinion to personal feeling.

Savage starts the book ten years into his relationship with his boyfriend, when their adopted son was six years old. The couple were talking about how to celebrate th
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BarbN
May 03, 2015 BarbN rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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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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“...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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