Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage


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.  (summary and book cover courtesy of


This review will be kept short.  While this book was somewhat interesting in terms of providing insight of marriage in different cultures, it did not live up to “Eat, Pray, Love”.  My main frustration is that I believe “Committed” could have be half the length, but just as satisfying.  The almost travel-log aspect of the story became a long-winded and the historical additions seemed to be haphazard and random.  The “revelations” about marriage were not much of a shock either.  Example: There is inequality between men and women in marriage globally. Duh. 

Another big frustration was the constant harping on Gilbert’s insecurities that bled over to assumptions about marriage as an institution.  She was paralyzed by indecision and second-guessed her decision to wed constantly throughout the book.  Get over it.  Life is scary.  But it wouldn’t be as much of an adventure without the risks, right?  From someone who took some big risks in her previous memoir, I found it disappointing.  On occasion the genuine voice from “Eat, Pray, Love” would come through, but overall I found this book whiny.

Rating: 2 stars!

Who Should Read This?  People trying to talk themselves into getting married.