Joakley's Reviews > Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
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's review
Apr 22, 2010

really liked it
Read in April, 2010

One thing I have noticed on multiple reviews here and at Amazon is a direct correlation between the amount of expectations the reader has upon entering this book, and the amount of dissapointment a person has by the time they write the review. This correlation makes me thankful that before picking up this book, I had never heard of Eat, Pray, Love, or Elizabeth Gilbert.

What's more interesting is that I have yet to find a critique of the book that hadn't already been addressed... in the book itself, no less.

Frasnkly what I found interesting about the book is how other people respond to it. There was a lot in the book that had me nodding, and a lot that had me rolling my eyes. But what's great is that, whether I entirely agree or disagree with Mrs. Gilbert, it has given me a lot to ponder and respond to in my personal writings.

That, I think, is the ultimate best use of this book. It's a philosophers book. Hell, it could even be called a "navel gazer", though self-reflection is quite a valuable thing when you are making a lifetime decision at great cost of time, emotion, and resources. Hell, me and my wife would have probably stayed in Bali. But you can bet there would be a lot of "navel-gazing" were we ever forced to make such a decision.

What bothers me most, however, is that I see a lot of complaints that can be summed up as, "I cannot relate to this woman, and therefore this book doesn't resonate with me". My best response to that summary is, "well, duh". And the primary reason for this response was that she shoots down that objection within the first pages of the book. Her experience is NOT normal, and is so out of the norm that only a very small portion of the world could possibly share it with her. This book is not another Eat, Pray, Love, because she's not in that place in her live. It does not have universal appeal because it was written for 27 specific women.

There's only one thing remarkable about Mrs. Gilbert herself, for that matter, and that is that she has the audacity to believe that she can and should do whatever the hell she wants, while at the same time admitting that she isn't entirely convinced as to what that is, and realizing that other people's rules and customs necessarily play a large role in deciding what she has a shot at attaining.

What was actually interesting to me is that she ultimately capitulated to a degree as a coping mechanism for a concept that scared the crap out of her but was nonetheless too enticing on the merits of its fringe benefits to not at least attempt. What's more: she ADMITS this.

What I liked abuot this book had nothing to do do with whether I agreed or disagreed with her actions or the motives thereof. What kept me reading is the access I had to her mind and heart in all its ugly, beautiful, stupid, brilliant and tantalizingly contradictory reality. It is one of the few books I have read that no real resolution is reached (at least in my opinion), and yet life-changing action is still taken, for better or for worse (if you'll pardon the phrase).

And that is one thing, I believe, that EVERYONE can resonate with: when torn between options that are equally distasteful, picking one and fearfully, if resolutely, sticking with it. Then forming your beliefs around this decision to make it more appealing.

I call BS on anyone who claims never to have done this.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Coffee4me Very insightful review. I also love the book for it´s philosophical touch that encouraged me to reflect on my own views on the subject she picks up.

Martin Turnbull I came to this page to write my review of this book and wasn't at all prepared to find all these haters. Whoa! Did we even read the same book? I loved EPL and am always quite perplexed when I see that people didn't. What wasn't to like about that book? She did what I think more people should do when they weather a wrenching crisis in their life - take some time to think about it and where will they go from here? Granted, she had the good fortune to get a sizeable advance which allowed her to do that but I think MANY people coming out of a bad divorce would do well to do what she did. And I thought she wrote about it so eloquently. And I thought she did it again with Committed. Yes, she makes it clear that she wrote the book for 27 specific people but I don't fully believe that. She wrote it for everyone who's survived an awful divorce/break-up and wonders if they'll ever find the fortitude to put themselves through anything like that again. Yes, it's less a memoir than an extended personal essay, but I don't care. Bravo, Liz Gilbert, for another interesting, and thought-provoking book, and I look keenly forward to your next one.

Elizabeth Lister Great review! I also wasn't prepared to see all the one star ratings here - I love this book, as I loved EPL (the book NOT the movie *shudder*) I'm not even finished the book but I'm already going to give it five stars. Being happily married myself, but having had to go through some misguided relationships in my twenties to get to the point that I knew what I really wanted/needed out of a life partner, I do identify with someone who wants to figure out why her previous marriage was a failure, and what she can do to increase the odds of her next relationship surviving, or even, flourishing.

message 4: by Teressa (new) - added it

Teressa I also enjoyed Committed and was surprised to see the poor reviews. I think the major reason for the poor reviews of both Eat Pray Love and Committed is that people are passing judgement on Gilbert's personal choices. I believe that the one star reviews are unfair because what they are reviewing is not the book rather Gilbert's life choices.

Alissa Thank you for such a thoughtful review. I've always had an issue with readers who won't differentiate between the writing and their personal feelings about the author's choices. I think this is also a thoughtful book, about an institution that *does* raise questions and anxieties, even in the most successful of relationships.

This fish likes to read I've not read either of her books (though I have heard a lot, thanks to the movie). I am skeptical, but what brought me here.. is her TED talks video( you should watch it, really liked her frankness about her writing).

Thank you for writing the only sensible review here. The "hater" reviews above felt like a rant than a review. Goodreads community off-late I have found, fuels the hater comments. So am glad to see a neutral review that actually talks about the book. Internet is already harsh, we all need some positivity.

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