book report: Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve been trying for a long time to review or comment on or find some way to share with you the delightful gooey yumminess that is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed:  A Love Story. It’s been out for a while now and, having appreciated Eat, Pray, Love and had my own reservations and struggles with the whole concept of marriage, I was really eager to dig in.

And yet I cannot make sense of this book for you. I mean, I can tell you that it’s a study of the history and issues around marriage from the perspective of a reluctant bride. Yet there is no way for me to boil it down into a condensed and sensible takeaway because, frankly, there is just too much amazingly juicy history, research, revelation and personal drama — and that’s just in Chapter 4, Marriage and Infatuation. I’m kidding; there are many great chapters. But, in the paperback copy I bought at the local discount retailer (you know the one with the big red bullseye), pages 96 through 134 cover so much — from enlightenment to infatuation, chemistry to philosophy, addiction to personal revelation, vasopressin receptor genes, walls and windows, prenuptial agreement and confessions.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Aristophanes mythical story of why humans so long for union with one another.
  • “I can no longer do infatuation. It kills me. In the end, it always puts me through the wood chipper.” Who wouldn’t appreciate this oblique reference to the Coen brothers’ Fargo?
  • Oh, the wisdom and revelations of the older and wiser on her second time around! The maturity with which the (very necessary, in my opinion) prenuptial agreement is discussed!
  • The listing of her own most deplorable faults, which she shared with her fiancée (as if he didn’t know) to ensure he knew what he was getting in to. I may attempt to do this myself here in this blog.
There is so much more in this book that makes it worth the read, particularly if you’ve tried and failed, particularly if you’ve struggled with the very notion or institution of marriage, particularly if you’ve ever felt bare, broken or vulnerable.
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