Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

Rate this book

At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who'd been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married. (Both were survivors of previous bad divorces. Enough said.) But providence intervened one day in the form of the United States government, which-after unexpectedly detaining Felipe at an American border crossing-gave the couple a choice: they could either get married, or Felipe would never be allowed to enter the country again. Having been effectively sentenced to wed, Gilbert tackled her fears of marriage by delving into this topic completely, trying with all her might to discover through historical research, interviews, and much personal reflection what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is. Told with Gilbert's trademark wit, intelligence and compassion, Committed attempts to "turn on all the lights" when it comes to matrimony, frankly examining questions of compatibility, infatuation, fidelity, family tradition, social expectations, divorce risks and humbling responsibilities. Gilbert's memoir is ultimately a clear-eyed celebration of love with all the complexity and consequence that real love, in the real world, actually entails.

285 pages, Hardcover

First published December 17, 2009

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Elizabeth Gilbert

92 books31.6k followers

Elizabeth Gilbert is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and her novel Stern Men was a New York Times notable book. Her 2002 book The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award.

Her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, spent 57 weeks in the #1 spot on the New York Times paperback bestseller list. It has shipped over 6 million copies in the US and has been published in over thirty languages. A film adaptation of the book was released by Columbia Pictures with an all star cast: Julia Roberts as Gilbert, Javier Bardem as Felipe, James Franco as David, Billy Crudup as her ex-husband and Richard Jenkins as Richard from Texas.

Her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, will be available on October 1, 2013. The credit for her profile picture belongs to Jennifer Schatten.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
9,528 (17%)
4 stars
16,904 (31%)
3 stars
17,622 (32%)
2 stars
7,139 (13%)
1 star
2,582 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,404 reviews
Profile Image for La Petite Américaine.
207 reviews1,431 followers
January 8, 2018
This review is gone now.

I'm so sorry that Liz Gilbert lost her partner, and am so grateful to this author for having the courage to share her personal journey of searching for and finding her truth, from EPL, Committed, and then though astoundingly brave updates about her life on social media.

Heart goes out to you, Liz. <3

2 reviews3 followers
April 22, 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.
Profile Image for Lena.
Author 1 book339 followers
March 13, 2010
In thinking about why Liz Gilbert's memoir, Eat Pray Love, was so successful, I suspect that it's because it's the ultimate escapist fantasy. Gilbert flees a bad marriage and a bitter divorce and miraculously receives a large enough book advance to spend the next year traveling the world in search of pleasure, spirituality, and love. That her dream journey results in her finding healing and rebirth, not to mention a passionate new Brazilian lover, gives her story the perfect fairy tale ending.

The problem with happily ever after, of course, is that the "ever after" part of that phrase is usually a lot more complicated than your average fairy tale would imply. Gilbert's new story picks up two years after the first one left off, when her Brazilian lover Felipe has been banned from returning the States unless the two of them get married. Still bearing scars from her first marriage, Gilbert is not at all happy about this, but decides to forge ahead out of her desire to be with Felipe. Committed details her attempts to make peace with this decision.

Unlike EPL, Committed is less a memoir and more of a very long personal essay. Gilbert does relay some aspects of her own story, but the book spends more time on discussions about her research into the history and sociology of marriage in Western society. Though other reviewers have mentioned Gilbert does not cover any new ground here, I was unfamiliar with most of this research, so I did find this aspect of the book interesting.

Gilbert is a writer of both strong opinions and strong feminist inclinations, however, and these tendencies likely combined with her personal scars to create a tone that was often preachy and oddly paternalistic as she discussed what a raw deal she thinks marriage has historically been for most women. Though there were places in the book when the witty and unselfconscious voice that made her so charming in EPL resurfaced, I found the overall tone of this book to be much more reserved and decidedly less engaging. I can imagine it's much harder to write openly about intensely personal issues once you know that millions and millions of people will read what you wrote, but those few moments in the book when the less guarded Gilbert did shine through made this loss seem even more pronounced.

Still, I don't regret having read this book. Gilbert is nothing if not intelligent, and her meandering exploration raised a number of interesting points that caused me to think about my own marriage in new ways. Her status as an affluent and childless woman may make her positions less accessible to those in more typical family circumstances, but for those wishing to participate in a thoughtful and at times entertaining discussion of marriage, there is value to be gained here.
Profile Image for Moira.
512 reviews25 followers
September 19, 2013
Yeah, I broke down and bought this, mainly because it was 40% off at the local grocery store, partly because of this review: http://www.bookslut.com/girl_interrup.... I HATED EPL but I like reading about marriage, so, we'll see how this goes while I'm waiting for Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest to get here (apparently England is having blizzards).

-- This wasn't anywhere near as terrible as Eat Pray Love, which isn't saying much of anything at all since I detest that book completely. Gilbert's introduction in which she talks about how she had no idea she was going to write a bestseller, has no idea how to write another one and had to just buckle down and write the book that was best for her was particularly offputting. (As they say in AA, when your life changes what happens is you get a better class of problems, but the difficulty of following up a book that has sold millions of copies seems like solid-gold mink-lined handcuffs. If nothing else, there are always pseudonyms....) The one interesting thing in the book, to me, is when she somewhat wryly says during the first stage of her career, she wrote 'like a man' writing about manly men doing manly things, and was able to make a living as a journalist and was nominated for some fairly big prizes, but didn't get much public attention. When she wrote 'as a woman' -- an intimate, confessional memoir about the worst personal crisis in her life -- she became rich and famous, even perhaps infamous, and was invited on Oprah at least twice. The very slight implication is perhaps that, while Gilbert is fully appreciative of her new wealth and influence and her role as modern secular psychospiritual lifestyle guru, she might, possibly, be just a little tired of her own persona herself.

As many reviewers by now have pointed out, Gilbert is at her worst when trying to breeze through great expository lumps and hunks of faked-up research, but writes affectingly of what marriage has meant for the women in her family, for good and for ill. "Felipe" is a particularly thin character, which is somewhat inevitable since she wants to at least partly protect his privacy, but I realized one reason the book irritated me so was apart from some good descriptions of her dread and terror when he's originally arrested at an airport for violating the terms of his visa, we don't hear much about the details of the predicament that is the reason for her writing the book in the first place. Instead, most of it is a lot of magazine-article-level generalizations about Western cultural history fleshed out with anecdotes from Gilbert's family and friends.. The main idea that marriage can be -- gasp! -- really subversive reminds me of the (I think it was) former punk rocker who declared that there was absolutely nothing more punk than buzzing your hair, putting on your dad's suit and tie and playing his swing music, which I still disagree with to this day, if only because buzz cuts, suits and ties are not socially acceptable sartorial choices for all of us. In much the same vein, the great crisis of this book is that the healthy, reasonably well-off heroine has to somehow bring herself to marry the equally healthy, reasonably well-off man she is madly in love with. Well, you're not expecting them to split up on the last page, are you? Gilbert uses this thesis to reconcile herself to either getting married or losing her boyfriend/her home country, but it's a little, well, like reading about someone's new-found concern for tax shelters because they've written a book which has suddenly made a metric fuckton of money.

It would be interesting, as Curtis Sittenfield suggested in the New York Times, if Gilbert went on to write a novel about her grandmother -- or her aunts, or her sister, or even herself, anything with some of the meaning and resolution of fiction. However, I fear what we'll see in probably another couple of years is yet another memoir, either about the happiness of second marriage or the trauma of second divorce. Since the much-ballyhooed statistic (which Gilbert wrings her hands about for several pages) is that fifty percent of all marriages snap like model airplane wings made of balsa wood, the best way to foretell which version we'll get might be a coin toss.
Profile Image for Marybeth.
148 reviews5 followers
May 27, 2010
Reasonable people have asked why did I read this book when I disliked Eat Pray Love so very very much & this is a reasonable & worthy question. If I were Elizabeth Gilbert I would take an extended vacation slash sojourn to ponder this, bemoaning my ever dwindling funds, with my Brazilian lover (let's call him Darling), internet surfing for books on the topic & having my sister send them out to my hotel rooms (Darling & me, we move around a lot). I would document my inner journey (not to be confused with the outer migration, but I would document that one, too) in a style I am going to call "meandering anecdote".

Alas, I am not Elizabeth Gilbert & all I can say is both books made me think of nothing so much as that scene in Absolutely Fabulous when Saffy gets to the end of her rope & screams at her mother "you cannot become a better person through massage!" & anything that brings back AbFab makes me happy.

Also Committed & Eat Pray Love aggravate me so very much that it helps to raise my heart rate when I am on the elliptical & for that reason alone, it was worth reading (but not buying-your public library has a copy I'm sure).
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
996 reviews1,129 followers
August 23, 2019
My dad has an unfortunate history of giving me books that make me wonder if we are actually related (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)… I can’t even remember why he decided to give me a copy of “Committed”: Jason and I had not decided to get married yet, and I am not really a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert to begin with (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...).

Gilbert did not want to marry her new partner, the Felipe of “Eat, Pray and Love”, because she was afraid it would end like her previous marriage had, in bitterness and tears (and somehow becoming the fertilizer to her fame and fortune, but I digress). It’s a reasonable fear. But then her publisher gave her money and said: “Travel and write about it! Just like you did the last time!”, and here’s the result.

So just like the previous book, there’s a lot of self-important whining here. Look, we all have our angst and suffering and I am very well placed to understand her reservations and fears, but I’m not going to feel bad for Elizabeth Gilbert being “forced” to marry her partner because of immigration. I married my partner because of immigration (I’m Canadian, he’s American, we met in Montreal and wanted to keep living here), but marriage is what you make of it, regardless of what the paperwork says. The paperwork is a pain in the ass, but in the grand scheme of things, what matters is a loving commitment to each other. The dress, the ring, the cake and all that garbage is meaningless. If you think the big wedding circus is fun, do it; if it makes you nauseated, don’t do it. Combing through the history and tradition of Western marriage to “find a comfortable place” in it, to me, sounds like someone trying to find a good excuse to get out of a sticky situation. You make your comfortable place, you don’t wait for someone to create one for you!

It’s very interesting to learn how other cultures think of marriage and of love and committed relationships, but those things are not documented well or deeply enough to make this book anything else than the agonizing (and often judgemental) hesitation of a woman who has a hard time making up her mind. It eventually becomes painfully obvious that despite her protesting, she wants to get married, but is afraid that would make her a bad feminist or a sell-out or Heaven knows what, so she must keep insisting she doesn’t want to. Good grief.

I understand that after all this, Gilbert and her Brazilian hubby ended up divorcing, making the whole book feel a bit silly in retrospect. Writing this book seems to have been like getting a lover’s name tattooed on a visible patch of skin: it usually means the end is nigh. The book gets two stars because there is the occasional nugget of insight in this hot mess, and I snorted a couple of time while reading it. But overall, this is not a very good or interesting book.

Dad, if you are reading this, please stick to the Book Depository wish list in the future.
Profile Image for Nancy.
403 reviews
August 11, 2010
Oh, Liz. I really want to like you, I do. Here you write a punchy memoir-sequel Nancy-style book that seems like a great idea at first ("The marriage cynic finally gets married!!!!"), but actually it just makes you look like a big fat flaky whiner-opportunist ("I can't believe Homeland Security is making me marry my Brazilian lover!!! Therefore, I must dissect this problem for three years abroad on my publisher's dime so I can fully capture all my emotions in another conveniently best-selling 280-page memoir!!!").

Additionally, you falsely advertise on the cover that you make "peace" with a social institution you never actually end up making peace with. I find this irritating.

And although I especially appreciate the theme of this book based on the fact that I'm getting married soon, I still think you ramble quite a bit in print for someone who is over 40 and has sold zillions of books.

p.s. Yes, perhaps I'm jealous, and I will probably end up seeing your movie "Eat Pray Love" anyway, but I swear it's only because Javier Bardem is in it. Not because I like you.

231 reviews36 followers
January 20, 2010
When I read Eat, Pray, Love a couple of years ago, I remember thinking to myself: "Elizabeth Gilbert is hilarious and sweet and very, very interesting, but I sure would not want to be married to her." Because, you know, she sounds kind of needy. And kind of over-dramatizing, and maybe just slightly nuts. As it turns out, Ms. Gilbert herself feels pretty much the same way. Not only did she not want to be married to someone like her, she did not want to be married at all - and most certainly did not want to inflict her slightly-nuts self on someone else.

But then her handsome Brazilian lover Felipe, souvenir of her trip to Bali, is escorted out of the country by Homeland Security for taking too-frequent advantage of the 90-day-visa so that he could be with Liz. And the only way for them to live together (in the US) is for Liz and Felipe to marry. So while they are waiting for their case to wander thru the federal court system, Liz takes the opportunity to read everything she can about marriage in the hopes of befriending the alien concept before she plunges headlong into its scary, bottomless depths.

Okay, my confession: I was not scared of marriage when I got married, and I am still extremely fond of the institution. So sometimes I found Gilbert's fears sort of extreme and wanted to tell her to try the decaf for a while. But one of the reasons that I do actually love Gilbert's writing is that she pinpoints certain ideas that kind of fascinate me, too. Like infidelity: As she points out, people always say, "I didn't plan for this. IT JUST HAPPENED," like it was a lightning strike on a sunny day. But it isn't, folks! Gilbert has done the research, and as it turns out, you DID plan it. Sort of. With your foolish ways of making too-close friends and telling them too damned much about your life with your spouse. I find that stuff interesting. Another part I liked QUITE a lot was her debunking of the "sacred matrimony" concept about which I have heard WAY too much from social conservatives. (Again, nope. Marriage is what it has always been: a way of managing purely secular concerns of wealth management, taxes, personal safety and child-rearing. Sacredness is just an occasional add-on by certain cultural groups.)(Don't get me wrong: I belong to one of those groups. It's pretty darn sacred to me, but that doesn't mean it has to be for everyone.)

So, moments of slight hysteria here and there; a bit of tedium when the research gets kind of dry; but many fascinating bits and lucky for the reader, Elizabeth Gilbert writing the whole thing with her clever, funny ways. I liked it quite a lot.
Profile Image for Kate.
137 reviews
November 4, 2012
I was reading merrily along with some arguments as to the structure of her prose or the depth of her arguments but nothing so sinister as to make me put the book down until page 164. In this section Gilbert devotes a few pages to a flyby of American woman's changing perceptions about marriage. Really it is an incomplete homage to Betty Friedan's groundbreaking work, The Feminine Mystique.

Here Gilbert writes,

"She (here Gilbert is referring to her grandmother) was happy because she had a partner, and because they were building something together, and because she believed deeply in what they were building, and because it amazed her to be included in such an undertaking.
I shall not insult either my grandmother or Noi by insinuating that they really ought to have aimed for something higher in their lives (something more closely approximating, perhaps, my aspirations and my ideals). I also refuse to say that a desire to be a the center of their husbands' lives reflected or reflects pathology in these women." page 165

After reading this passage I almost put the book down for good. I certainly had to put it down for awhile before coming back to it and when i did it was with a finely tuned microscope for the failings of the book which up to that point i had been ignoring.

You see, her grandmother and Noi are happy in their marriages, a condition that Gilbert, for all she goes on about it, can not comprehend. She should have left it at that. By saying she won't insult them she does. In fact the very tone of the passage implies that she DOES think they limited themselves and that she, having chosen differently, knows better. Why does she feel the need to say that she refuses to call their behavior pathological when in fact by refusing to say it, she has said it?

This passage amplified all my arguments with the book which i will summarize:
1. Gilbert is whiny. It is this complaining without self assessment that gives Memoir a bad name. To go along with the whine i need to trust that the author is digging into herself and that we will be making some interesting revelations together about the nature of humanity. Not so here.

2. She seems stuck in a loop between her bad divorce and her fear of remarriage- she brings her readers back to revisit these topics again and again without uncovering any new ground or exposing any new, relevant insite.

3. There are no references. She has set out to uncover some history and write an engaging book where fact and personal narrative are interwoven around a specific topic a la Bill Bryson or Mary Roach but unlike these two venerable authors, Gilbert's research is not cited either within the text or in a bibliography nor is it woven in with charmingly personal narrative. Which leads me to #4

4. Her interspersed personal narratives are not personal at all. She seems afraid to divulge too much information. If you don't want to give details then you shouldn't be writing about the topic at hand. Tell me a story to illustrate your point, create a rich scene and lead me there- i know she can do it as she did it very well in Eat, Pray, Love- but here her scenes fall flat under the weight of her sanctimonious preaching or self obsessed whining.

In fact GIlbert summarizes her own book,
"This entire book-every single page of it- has been an effort to search through the complex history of Western marriage until I could find some small place of comfort in there for myself." pg 265

Though I would argue we took a detour away from the focus on Western marriage when we spent so much many pages talking about the Hmong- who have no part of the history of Western marriage. I would also point out that Gilbert shared only a few passing references with us on her research as so while she did an in-depth study what she actually put on the page was an in-depth study of her own neurosis.

I came away feeling as if Gilbert had used me as her untrained and unwitting phycologist and that the only new territory we uncovered was how low her own self-worth is and how much she apologized for it.

I wish her the best of luck in her marriage and with her writing career but i will not be picking up any more of her writing. Two has been more than enough.
Profile Image for Caroline.
503 reviews562 followers
May 30, 2018
A chatty and chummy description of marriage - in terms of history, culture and the author's own relationship and forthcoming marriage. Lots of research mentioned, but no specifics given. More along the lines of "current research says..." which I found unsatisfactory.

She ends by highly recommending a book called Marriage: A History , by an historian called Stephanie Coontz. This book gets a good rating on Goodreads and I am adding it to my t-r lists.

Profile Image for Julie.
37 reviews6 followers
August 4, 2010
I admit, I never finished Eat, Pray, Love. I got stuck in Pray and never got out. But I wanted to read her view on marriage (and second marriages) after what I remembered being a really terrible divorce. I noticed the reviews weren't great, but I also know that there was a lot of praise for E,P,L so that's probably hard to live up to. From previous experience, I was a skeptic about marriage myself. I think this day and age, it has a pretty bad rep with a lot of people. It was really interesting to see her in a predicament where another marriage is the only way to be with her partner, Felipe, then get set on a journey to make peace with it. It was never an option to not marry him, but she had concerns she worked through. Interesting facts and interviews with people on their trips throughout this book. She had a lot of great stuff in there that was relatable, and that's what I liked most of all about this book. For everyone? Nah, but I think anyone that has been in a relationship or is currently in one can take something away from this read.
Profile Image for Elisheva.
22 reviews2 followers
March 22, 2012
If you're under the impression that Elizabeth Gilbert writes chick lit for middle aged women longing for excitement and dreaming of international travel, you are missing out on some of the most profound writing in modern literature. There is one common theme in her work: that of seeking truth and clarity amid thousands of theories, expectations and ideas sold to us by society. I wouldn't call Committed a love story; I'd call it thoughtful, heartful research, an attempt to break the institution of marriage down to its fundamental parts (if there even are such things) and find some, hell - just one, reason why she or anyone should bother entering into it.

This wasn't the soul-searching novel that Eat, Pray, Love was (nor was it the promised follow-up), and I'm kind of glad for that, if only for the selfish reason of wanting her to avoid being pigeon-holed. Instead, it was a sometimes refreshing, sometimes unsettling look at the reality of marriage and its consequences. It certainly made me look at my own marriage with rational eyes, which is admittedly something neither I nor my wife did before blindly jumping the broom at 24. Highly recommended to singles, spouses, divorcees, or anyone simply interested in taking a sociological look at commitment.
Profile Image for E.
380 reviews79 followers
January 4, 2015
I have two things in common with Elizabeth Gilbert: I married a foreigner, and I really, really don't want to ever get divorced. As my partner and I planned our wedding and crafted our vows, we were inspired of course by love but also by the many shattered relationships we had observed, hoping to learn everything we could. Not to be better than anyone; on the contrary, to avoid hubris. I wanted my 50 year-old self to look back at my 28 year-old self and be proud, not shaking her head at any flighty, unrealistic declarations in the extreme that are all too common in youth. Having been underwhelmed by the "P" in Eat Pray Love, the "Skeptic" in Gilbert's second volume enticed me to give her a try.

If you've been suspicious of the institution of marriage only occasionally, or in fact don't quite understand what anyone could possibly have against such a fairy tale of joy, this book will probably get you thinking. If, however, you're well-versed in world history and feminism and are suspicious of marriage for those very reasons, this book will offer almost NOTHING new. Gilbert chit-chats about the many ugly marriage traditions from the oppression of women to racism to heternormativity to economics, cushioning each discussion with heavy slices of cheese. I felt as though I had joined a ladies' luncheon led by a well-meaning but not very well-read neighbor who had learned about these topics for the very first time from a few clips on NPR. Her heart is in the right place, but her ideas are tidbits and factoids, not refined concepts or arguments. And, like many a kind, older neighbor, she unwittingly condescends to her audience. Appreciating her sentiment but writhing at her style, I found myself clenching my teeth in a polite smile.

And the writing style? My god. "I mean." "But I just want to say here..." "Sorry for the rant." "This is just a really, really big issue of mine." It appears that publishers will call ANYTHING a book these days. Can I just send my diary to Viking Press, written as conversationally as, like, humanly possible? 'Cuz that'd sure be nice! (Maybe I need to have written a book that made a movie first? Dunno. You tell me.)

Go read Offbeat Bride if you're looking for someone to confront all the moral dilemmas of matrimony with a biting sense of humor and an undeniable talent for a well-turned phrase.

Profile Image for Richele.
15 reviews6 followers
November 18, 2010
While I am only mid-way through this book, I have begun to feel as though Gilbert is happily researching all the reasons why her marriage will prosper, and mine will not. I am in my early twenties, married to a man in his late twenties, and I feel as though Gilbert is not so much researching marriage, as she is all the reasons why Felipe is perfect for her. Although it is a memoire, and power to her for writing it, I sense a certain judgement on those of us out there who aren't as spiritually enlightened with all of her precious life lessons that will inevitably lead to her happy ending.
She mentioned that people who marry young (as I did) are "more irresponsible, less self-aware, more careless, and less economically stable than when we are older", while the latter may be true, she may well have been those things at a young age, but it's not to say that everyone is, and it's not to say that we're all doomed unless we're approaching our forties and a second marriage, which apparently automatically makes you wise and worldly no matter what.
I did love EPL, and still respect Gilbert as a talented writer. Her words are beautifully strung together which makes it an easy read. I suppose everyone who has a love story wants to tell the world about why they are luckiest and the happiest on the planet, which is what I feel this memoir has done.
Profile Image for Gergana.
227 reviews391 followers
Shelved as 'zzz-books-not-for-me'
September 3, 2016
Nope. As much as I adored by Eat Pray Love, Committed is definitely not my cup of tea. The whole book is about Marriage - the role of marriage, the pros and cons of marriage, the history of marriage, examples of marriages gone wrong or right, etc.. Overthinking, over-analyzing, over-everything.

All I can say is - I like the cover design (the one with the rolled papers shaped as a heart).

Read in September, 2016
Profile Image for Paula.
9 reviews14 followers
July 24, 2012
I simply loved this book. I'd enjoyed reading "Eat, Pray, Love", even though I loathed the "Eat" part, but had seen and heard a fair amount of bad reviews about "Committed" and, for that reason, was apprehensive about it. However, Elizabeth Gilbert is a brilliant author: she presents the right amount of intelligence, wit, sensibility and sense of humor in her writings.

In the beginning of the book, Gilbert warns her readers that this will be different than Eat, Pray, Love was. Her research and writing about marriage is a mere attempt to convince herself, to ease herself to the idea of getting re-married. She also situates her readers that she doesn't pretend to exhaust the subject: she'll cover Western, heterosexual (although she mentions some homosexual relationships) marriage.

And she sets off to a historical, philosophical, psychological, religious, governmental explanation about marriage as an institution. She doesn't ask anyone to agree with her. She's not trying to convince anybody to get married or to not get married. She's not giving out marital advices. (Even though she wisely advises women to seek for education and financial independence prior to marriage). She's merely enlisting changes that have occurred in the Western marriage during the past centuries.

Gilbert said that she needs to write about things she's afraid of. Marriage was one of them. In my opinion, she did really well.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,652 followers
February 11, 2010
Spending 280 pages with Elizabeth Gilbert is like having a wonderful chat with your smartest, funniest, coolest, most insightful girlfriend.

Profile Image for Salwa.
45 reviews2 followers
March 1, 2010
I was a big fan of Eat, Pray, Love and even went back and read her journalistic book, The Last American Man, so I was super excited to read this book. I appreciate that it can't have been easy to write again after the insane success of Eat, Pray, Love. Not to mention writing about something so personal knowing that you'd have 100s of thousands of readers this time around. And yet, this book is missing some of the things that made Eat, Pray, Love great.
1) A cohesive narrative arch. The book is broken up into chapters like "Marriage and Women", but really it's just a ramble through a bit of research, a bit of personal anecdotes, and a bit of what was going on in Gilbert and Felipe's immigration story. As an editor, I think this book needed to be edited more carefully, to piece the stories together, to flesh out the interesting ideas, and to erase redundancies.
2) Part of the joy of Eat, Pray, Love was that we didn't know where it was going but went along for the ride. I found that Committed was a bit staid. It's hard to pinpoint why. Maybe the writing is flatter, the revelations less amazing, the end of the story known. Or maybe the joy and downright funny moments were thrown out in the first draft. It's hard to know, but this time around Gilbert sounded unsure of herself.
3) Which brings me to my last point: we know Gilbert is not a sociologist, psychologist, etc. It killed me that this was repeated numerous times throughout the book. And yet, I can see why it's needed since clearly people have taken issue with her research already. This added to my sense of an insecure narrator. I actually really liked the research findings she presented, her anecdotal stories about marriage, the way she had to ask everyone and anyone how it works for them.
4) Lastly, maybe this book didn't do it for me because I've already made my peace with marriage. If it had come out a few years ago I might have written an entirely different review.

All that being said, I think it's worth the read because you never know what might resonate with you. For me, the idea of "windows and walls" and subversive marriage were fascinating.
Profile Image for Anne.
797 reviews29 followers
February 13, 2010
In Gilbert's memoir Eat, Pray, Love, she has fallen in love with a Brazilian named Felipe. In her latest, Gilbert tells the story of how she and Felipe came to be married, despite their adamant belief that after their painful divorces, they would never enter into the instution of marriage ever again. I was skeptical when I picked this one up. I thought it might be preachy - or an annoying attempt to justify why Gilbert's marriage was worthwhile, when so many others aren't. I thought it would be just another self-indulgent memoir. But, I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. While this is certainly a memoir, and Gilbert goes deep into her own personal relationships and feelings about marriage, this book is also a study of marriage - what it means in different cultures and religions, why people ever invented the institution of marriage, what it meant to women 100 (or even 20) years ago, and what it can mean for women today. Gilbert has done a lot of research - and sure she picks and chooses the histories that are relevant to her own life, but this one really resonated with me. As someone who never wanted to get married, but after 30 years came to terms with my own wedding, I really appreciated Gilbert's honesty and curiosity about her fears, her expectations in relationships, and her resentment toward a society that often defines marriage in a way that enforces and imposes gender stereotypes. As someone who has chosen not to have children, Gilbert also has intriguing viewpoints on how remaining childless impacts a life-long union (in bad and good ways). This is a great book for sparking discussion about the meaning of marriage - a hot topic certainly in California right now with the passage of Prop 8. And, I thought, a valuable tool for assessing one's own partnership - in terms of how it has lived up to one's expectations, or far exceeded it. I think I (and Gilbert) will always have some ambivalence about the institution of marriage, but learning more about where it came from and how others view it, certainly empowered me to feel like I can remain a feminist while still appreciating the wonder that comes from sharing my life with another person (in a state-sanctioned way). I can see how Glibert's tone might offend, or more likely, annoy many readers, but probably because I share many of Gilbert's inital notions about marriage, I appreciated this exploration of it.
Profile Image for Catherine.
986 reviews17 followers
September 8, 2010
I was ambivalent about reading this, because the "Love" section of "Eat Pray Love" was my least favorite part. In fact, I nearly returned it to the library unread when the due date arrived, but decided to read "just a few chapters" in case it was worth putting on hold to read at a later date. Apologies to the next person in the queue.

What I expected: A self-congratulatory recap of how Liz and Felipe overcame immigration complications to achieve wedded bliss.

What I got instead: thoughtful analysis of courtships, families, and relationships across numerous eras and cultures. The book does include the saga of the immigration issues, but now I remember how much I liked the author's self-depracating humor in her earlier memoir. The story is never smug or superior.

My favorite quote: "Sometimes life is messy and botched. We do our best. We don't always know the right move."
Profile Image for Mandy Sue.
184 reviews27 followers
February 3, 2010
I find it insulting (maybe insulting is a harsh word...disappointing, maybe?) to readers that Ms. Gilbert or "Mrs. Brazilian Felipe" can change the way she portrays herself in two memoirs and expect the readers to embrace it.

In Eat, Pray, Love, Liz portrayed herself as a spiritual person looking to better herself after self destructing (although I didn't feel that way about her situation until reading Committed) her first marriage. The readers loved her yearning for self discovery; some to the point where they tried to copy her exact route in order to find the same balance at the ending. In Committed, the only way Liz portrays herself is as a selfish, childish, feminist, nonconformist who can't fathom complying to any set of rules.

The first half of Committed is mostly history and statistics which being a history and religious buff, I highly enjoyed... and then Liz seeped through. Not in a spiritual, guided way; but that of a 3 year old child having a temper tantrum because she can't have things her way.

This book was a disappointment. Not just in her obsessive quoting, statistics and random ramblings about things she has read on the history of matrimony but a disappointment to readers who read EPL and mistook her childish escape to these countries as a search for self discovery.

Liz didn't go to Italy, India and Indonesia in EPL for spiritual guidance or to better herself. She went to hide in these places from the difficulties of divorce and didn't go back until she thought the "coast was clear."

Then after she left it all behind, she once again found something else she could rant and complain about....Marriage. Which is exactly what this book is: A childish rant, trying to justify her reasons to avoid conforming to the norm of marriage and parenting.
Profile Image for Annie.
124 reviews8 followers
March 9, 2016
I picked this up to review. I almost put it back down again, because it seems like everyone and her uncle has reviewed this book in print, but I didn't have anything else to replace it with, so I thought I'd try anyway.

I'm glad I did. For some reason, I picked up on things the other reviewers didn't. Well, maybe it's not that they didn't notice, but it didn't matter to them.

As a memoir, this isn't the greatest, but then again I don't like memoirs in the first place. As a book using one relationship to help frame a cultural study of marriage, it was great. I love all the research Gilbert put into this, from marriage ceremonies in Laos to statistics from a Rutgers study to the mating habits of seagulls and the letters of Chekov. It's a magpie collection of information, and I love that.

It's the parts where she becomes too personal and too self-conscious about being personal that tends to drag the book down. And when I write "personal," I don't mean the nitty-gritty of her sex life. I mean her spending pages on a list of pros and cons and self-examination for making one decision to go to Cambodia. Sure, it is later related to a larger theme, but it's done awkwardly and too slowly. She spends too much time justifying herself, I think. Of course, she freely admits that this entire book was written in order to justify herself. The other bits are good, though, and made it worth reading.

Especially the re-telling of Plato's theory on why we desire to complete ourselves with another person. I now have to return to Plato.
Profile Image for Kricket.
2,259 reviews
June 18, 2010
my love for this book has a lot to do with who i am and where i am in life, so i don't expect that everyone else will have the same experience when reading it. even though i married young, we are coming on 4 years of what EG describes as husbandless, wifeless, childless marriage. in other words, a bit nontraditional. so this book, which is EG's exploration of whether or not her nontraditional relationship can fit into a traditional state-sanctioned marriage, really spoke to me.

at the end of eat pray love, EG meets the older brazilian "felipe" in bali and falls in love. ultimately, they wish to settle in the US, near EG's beloved family. but they have decided to never marry because they have both been through awful divorces. felipe has been leaving the US every 90 days for work, then returning, and that has been working out fine. until one day, while returning, he is arrested and told that he has worn out his welcome, and the only way he'll be able to return to the states is if he & EG get hitched.

EG & felipe head to southeast asia, where they can live cheaply together while they wait for all the paperwork to go through. EG researches and writes as a way to process her thoughts & confusions about matrimony. it is obvious from the get-go that this is what will happen for this couple to stay together. so, it's not so much about convincing EG to get married a second time as it is about convincing EG that being married can be different this second time.

so EG sets off to writes a history of marriage as it interests and applies to her personally. i realize that this is deeply irksome to people who are not very similar to her, but to be fair: she does warn the reader several times that this is exactly what she is doing. she is researching marriage in southeastern asia because that is where she is traveling. she is researching marriage as it pertains to feminists because she is a feminist. she is researching childless marriage/childless women because she does not want to have children (perhaps my favorite part of the book.) she writes about gay marriage because she realizes that people dear to her who are gay, if in the same situation as she & felipe find themselves, would not be able to solve things by getting married.

as a feminist childless homo-sympathizer in a happy marriage, i loved the messages of this book, perhaps in an irrational, unfair way. i've already signed the paperwork and had the ceremony, so what could be more fun than 300 pages affirming my decisions and beliefs? but seriously, i do think there are other women who struggle with these issues. i also love EG's voice and writing style: compulsively readable with dry humor. i do wish she had done a better job citing her sources- i want to follow up on some of this stuff and the vague listing in the acknowledgements doesn't help that much. in a few years i will probably read this again and re-evaluate how pertinent it is to my life. but for now: spot on refreshing deliciousness.
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews656 followers
May 19, 2014
was fully prepared to not like this book. Not for necessarily rational reasons - I've never read Eat, Love, Pray, and have refrained from doing so both because of the immense hype around the book and the message that in order to find yourself, you had to be someone who already had an immense amount of privilege. I'm not saying that's what Eat, Pray, Love is like, as I'm talking from no knowledge whatsoever. But the publicity around the book just stank of that point of view.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Profile Image for Suzie .
38 reviews
February 1, 2010
Love, true love, has brought us together today

I finished Committed, and am at an understanding with the book. I would say this book is worth a read, but as a reader, one must be committed to the book. A reader has to go into this book with an open mind (a few of Gilbert's views may be too liberal for some) and a reader absolutely must finish the book. This is not the type of book one can pick up, read a few chapters of and then put down. You'll walk away with an incomplete viewpoint and it isn't fair to you nor is it fair to Gilbert to not finish this book once you start it. In this way, the book itself is an excellent metaphor to marriage and relationships.

So, why did I read the book? There were no imminent questions about marriage in my life requiring reflection. Italian and I are happy in our marriage and have really grown up together, supporting each other along the way. Honestly, I picked up the book because I wanted to know if Elizabeth got married. Why did I care? Because it seemed obvious to me they were in love at the end of Eat, Pray, Love. That was it.

The book, then, was a surprise in its discourse on the institute of marriage, and I realized while reading it that I have also separated the concepts of being bound by love to another person and the social construct of legally binding two people into a specialized contract. I've viewed the contractual arrangement of marriage and the aspects of love and intimacy as two distinct parts of being married, and they happen at different times. Sometimes, one is even missing.

Overall, without "giving away" the book and without betraying the intimate aspects of my marriage, I would say Gilbert's book is a modern look at marriage and her reflection on the topic is at a level often missing in today's world. Just like a good marriage, if you start it, you do have to invest time into it, hearing out her arguments, and seeing how she finds peace. For those getting married, it's a good read to spark discussion. For those married, it's a good read to spark discussion. For those contemplating if they ever want to get married, I think this book will be especially poignant. Getting married is a very public display of an extremely personally decision, and Gilbert's public display of her struggle with the decision may be relevant or insightful.
Profile Image for Sally.
120 reviews2 followers
February 27, 2019
I read this six years ago, around about the time that it came out. News has broken today that Elizabeth Gilbert has separated from her Husband, who is central to this book (as is the question of marrying him). I decided to review it today because I feel that people have forgotten that Gilbert in fact wrote it at all (it didn't receive as much acclaim as Eat Pray Love), and will no doubt give it some harsh criticism in the wake of this sad announcement about Gilbert's very personal life.

This book, I feel, should be required reading for everyone contemplating marriage. Because the central themes are really what almost every person who gets married fears, or at least contemplates before the big day. Is it the right thing to do? Does it change anything? Is it archaic? Should it still exist? Is it just an enormous expensive party that is a waste of time? Is it sexist?

It is certainly not the case that Gilbert definitively answers all of these questions, but the important thing is that she airs them for all the world to see. I've read quite a few negative reviews of this book, which makes me sad because I think they miss the point. Committed is the story of Gilbert's questions about marriage, what they throw up for her and how she chooses to answer them in a satisfactory manner for herself. It is not an attempt to provide a how to guide or the secret to a successful marriage. These facts are the reason that it is so great. The reason it should be read by those contemplating marriage is because it raises all of those questions, not because it answers them.

Even though the book itself is now six years old, it hasn't diminished in relevance nor has it dated really. It would be very very sad to think that Committed gets passed over because Gilbert's marriage is over, and I beg you all not to judge it because of that fact. Committed is a beautiful book that really mattered (and still matters) to me, and whether you agree or disagree with Gilbert's research, questions or experiences, it really is worth your time.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,739 reviews2,265 followers
November 29, 2010
After reading Eat, Pray, Love, I kept waiting for this to get better, for the writing to sound less like an assignment, but it never did. If you're looking for 8,000 reasons why getting married isn't a terrifying idea, might actually be a good thing for you despite the fact that you really don't want to (or you really do, but you just can't bring yourself to admit it), this is the book for you. If you are looking for some reassurance why getting married is a good idea when you really are terrified of marrying someone you claim to love, then I'm not sure that's what you'll get out of this. A sense of camaraderie, perhaps, but I don't think anything about this book is meant to reassure anyone that marriage is a good idea, for anyone.

I don't think the writing itself lives up to Eat, Pray, Love which had at least a cohesive flow. Committed comes across as scattered, grabbing bits and pieces in a desperate attempt to appear to assure herself that there is hope for marriage, while at the same time managing to assure herself that she was right all along in fearing the whole idea of such ridiculous nonsense.
Profile Image for Rebekah O'Dell.
Author 3 books78 followers
April 7, 2010
I don’t envy Elizabeth Gilbert the task of following-up Eat, Pray, Love. The book is so popular and so uber-beloved that Julia Roberts herself is playing Gilbert in the hotly anticipated film adaption, for goodness sake! Aside from an Oprah endorsement (though it has that, too), what more could a book ask for than Julia Roberts’ guffaw attached to it?

But, here it is — Gilbert’s big follow-up. In the “love” section of Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert meets and falls for Brazilian Felipe while traveling in Bali. When we rejoin Gilbert in Committed, their relationship has both intensified and solidified. Elizabeth + Felipe = true love. Sadder-but-wiser from their respective nasty divorces, the duo vow to love each other passionately and to never, under any circumstances, get married.

Until U.S. Immigration services gets involved and bans Felipe from entry into the United States. Their best advice? Get married. As Gilbert puts it, an engagement “more like something out of Kafka than out of Austen” (19).

While they battle the red tape of FBI investigations and immigration interviews, Felipe and Gilbert stay in limbo by traveling around southeast asia. Gilbert, ever the journalist, uses her travels as an opportunity to extensively study not only the history of marriage, but also the sociological and anthropological implications of marriage in cultures and religions around the globe.

Let me just say — what she finds out is fascinating. Most of the book can be summed up in the book’s subtitle — Gilbert making peace with the institution of marriage. More non-fiction than memoir (although there are strong memoir overtones), Gilbert dives deep into what makes marriage tick, what makes it disastrous, and how we as a culture have arrived at our assumptions concerning matrimony (like, for example, the fact it’s called “matrimony” and not “patrimony” — the mother-making aspect of marriage is assumed in its very title!).

Interestingly, when my friends and I read Eat, Pray, Love, we were unanimous in our enthusiasm for “Eat” and “Pray”….but not so much for “Love”. In our reading, Gilbert loses something of herself again when she meets Felipe, and the book as a slightly more fairy-tale esque ending than felt warrented. (I realize it was a true story … there’s not a lot she could do about that. ) Thus, I approached Committed with trepidation. But I fell in love with funny, honest Gilbert all over again — in fact, I found the newly-found, self-confident Gilbert in Committed more likeable than her seeking Eat, Pray, Love counterpart. A speedy, informative, funny read, Gilbert’s fans will not be disappointed!
585 reviews9 followers
March 17, 2010
This book is in fact a two point five, but I found myself annoyed with the author so gave it a two. How can I be annoyed, you ask? Think of all the hundreds, thousands of people who get married EVERY DAY, some, gasp! for the second or even third time. Do they make an outrageous fuss, crying "I'm so special, I think marriage is too enslaving for me"? No, they bite the bullet and take the risk.

If Elizabeth Gilbert weren't famous for Eat Pray Love, then I wonder what a publisher's reaction to this submission would've been. It's interesting to see what a Hmong grandmother thinks about marriage and to compare her thoughts to the American ideal. It's interesting to read about Felipe's legal problems with the USA. It's interesting to contemplate purchasing a church-home in New Jersey sight unseen and over the internet. But the whole notion that the protagonist couldn't come to terms with a common institution until she had done the research and naval gazing to write this book makes me want to yell, "Get over yourself, girlie!"

Mine is a library copy so I am not contributing to Gilbert's growing wealth. Will Julia Roberts play her in the movie version of this one, too?
Profile Image for Joan.
49 reviews
March 14, 2010
I found Elizabeth Gilbert's first book, Eat, Pray, Love, a bit too self-indulgent for my taste. This book, though, struck a better balance of self-indulgent musing and researched social commentary. (And, I use the term "researched" loosely.) If you are contemplating marriage or are just interested in the institution of marriage in Western culture, this is a decent read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,404 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.