book eater: committed

First, another silly tidbit about my reading habits; instead of using a bookmark, or dog-earing the pages of a brand new book, I like to use a small post it note to hold my place. There are several reasons for this. One is because I'm always dropping my books off the side of my bed, or dumping them into my backpack. Bookmarks generally fall out when you do those things. Another reason is because using a sticky note allows me to stick it right where I leave off reading, handy when I don't have time to finish a chapter before I get off the subway. Lastly, I hate folding the pages of a brand new book, so that just isn't an option.

And now, onto the book. Committed is the continuation of Elizabeth Gilbert's story,which began in a little book you may have heard of, Eat, Pray, Love. Oh, you know that one? Me too, which is why I headed straight for Committed, even though the subject matter may seem largely irrelevant to my life.
the cover is designed by Jessica Hische, her work is fantastic

(Spoiler, if you haven't read EPL!) When we last saw Liz, our independent divorcee traveler, she was in Bali and had fallen in love with Felipe. It was an international love affair, as Liz is American and Felipe is a Brazilian with Australian citizenship. They fly, jump, swim, run, romp... whatever you want to call it... all over the world but eventually decide to settle down in America. This settling down poses a problem for Felipe, who cannot stay in America for longer than 3 months at a time as a result of, you know, not being a citizen. So he travels in and out as he needs to, until he is arrested upon trying to enter the county, and he is told that he has abused his privileges and will not be able to return to America again... unless they get married.
Thus begins the story of Committed. As Liz is skeptical of marriage (she has already "failed" once before) she decides to learn everything she can about it in order to form her own thoughts, opinions, and definition and ultimately bring herself to a place where she can marry but not feel that she has compromised herself.
And yes, this is where the book seems like it may not seem like a good fit for me, for so many reasons. I'm not skeptical of marriage at all; I am surrounded by family members who have been happily married for years and have never once questioned that this would be my future too. And while not getting married anytime soon, I'm excited to do it... not worried that it will change me in ways that I don't want to change, nor fearful of marriage itself becoming more powerful than I am. However, I do feel (after having read two of her books now) that Liz and I have something in common: we LOVE to learn. So, I trusted my instincts and read on.
Liz and Felipe set off together to wait things out while their lawyer moves their case forward back in America. As they travel, she reads, interviews, and experiences her way to anew definition of marriage. Liz questions everything, relates it to herself and also to those she loves- her family members and friends whose experiences fill in the gaps where she has not gone herself. I loved her historical tidbits, especially those about religion and authority... but even more, I enjoyed her revelations about the subject of marriage, as her conclusions aided me in coming to my own.
I won't tell you how it ends, or what Liz ultimately concludes (that would take all the fun out of reading it yourself), but it was beautifully written and especially thought provoking. I am so happy that Elizabeth Gilbert decided to share another part of her story with us.

<3 barb

P.S.  Meg wrote about this book last week, too!

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