1. Committed

A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
by Elizabeth Gilbert

With her last book, Eat, Pray, Love, being such a huge bestseller, I was expecting this one to be a letdown.  Normally, follow ups to books like that are extremely disappointing, with the author usually trying to replicate the formula that made them such a success.  Not the case here. Committed is a wonderful read that picks up Gilbert’s story with her boyfriend “Felipe” – kind of.

Having settled into a comfortable life together in the States, the couple is soon faced with a threat to their relationship.  “Felipe” (Gilbert chooses not to reveal his real name) is an Australian citizen and must leave the country periodically to maintain  his temporary visa.  In the beginning, this works out well for the couple because as a gemstone trader, Felipe’s work takes him all around the world.  So he is able to time his business trips to coincide with the expiration of his 90 day visa.  However, in this post-9/11 America, all that perfect timing and stamps on his passport soon draw attention from the Department of Homeland Security.  Felipe is arrested and returned to Australia and it becomes apparent that the only way that he can come back to the US is as Gilbert’s husband.

This sounds simple to most folks, but these folks are both veterans of really bad divorces and had already decided that they didn’t need (or want) the institution of marriage in their relationship. But now there is no way around it. While they waited for the bureaucracy of the governments involved to ready the necessary paperwork, the couple travel for several months in Southeast Asia. And Gilbert did what any journalist would do – she used the time to study up on the institution of marriage.

Part memoir, part history, part sociological study,  Committed is the journey that Gilbert went on as she made peace with her impending appearance at the altar. It blends effortlessly, the history & evolution of marriage as well as the evolution of Gilbert’s relationship as they live through the uncertainty of their future while coming to terms with it.

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