Committed follows the post Eat Pray Love chapter in Elizabeth Gilbert’s life. After travelling the world for a year finding herself still able to love and write, she settles down with Felipe, an older Brazilian man with whom she quickly falls in love. Unable to move forward with their lives because Felipe can’t get into the United States, a marriage must take place, and until then, they cannot be together in her home country. So they set off to do even more travelling while Gilbert goes researching on the politics of love and marriage.
She ends up exploring various traditions and ceremonies having to do with different commitments from worldwide perspectives to the story of women in her own family. She offers anecdotes of love and definitions of marriage pertaining to place, time and culture, and then comments on how these individuals and communities fared in said commitments. This elastic band of information helps her along on her own journey. At the end, though, none of these stories, facts and anecdotes matter. Gilbert marries Felipe because, quite simply, she loves him and wants him in her life on a daily basis, something that can’t happen if he’s not a U.S. citizen.
I talked to a friend about this book the other night and she didn’t really like it. She liked the spiritual “lovefestness” of Eat Pray Love and didn’t think this sequel measured up. I, though, find this book to be much more honest and, contrary to what some critics think, not so self-indulgent. It’s informative and well-researched with Gilbert writing at her best—stringing together beautiful, warm, drippy sentences that make you feel like you’re listening in on some intimate conversation. It’s a smart, honest and funny book in which Gilbert doesn’t espouse one way or the other whether she is for or against marriage. It is very much implied, though, that she would have never married again if not for the legal privileges that she needed to make her union a lawful one.
Find more information on Elizabeth Gilbert and her work here. One interesting thing about her pre-EPL publications is that they’re mostly about the lives of men. It wasn’t until she switched her focus to herself and the lives of women that she attained international success.