I’m doing well on goal #3… which is good, since if I was already falling behind on my book a month goal after just two months… well. There’d be a problem.
In February I read a book that I’d been looking forward to for a few years, “Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage”, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert’s first book, “Eat Pray Love” is one of my all time favorites. Cliche, I know, but it is! I love traveling and introspection and memoirs, so it hit a few sweet spots. While “Committed” picks up pretty much where “Eat Pray Love” left off, I wouldn’t call it a memoir, it’s more of a study on the Western history and assumptions about marriage. Gilbert warns the reader up front that the book is not the same as “Eat Pray Love”, so there should be no disappointment if you choose to read past the first chapter. However, while the narrative is not as compelling, Gilbert is still honest, thoughtful, and occasionally funny. It’s like having a serious conversation with an old, dear friend.
While I consider myself a feminist, I have to be honest that I didn’t give a ton of thought to getting married. I never felt that I NEEDED to get married to be a complete person or anything like that, but I also never feared (modern, Western) marriage as an oppressive institution. I figured if I met someone I wanted to marry, I would… and I did. “Committed” definitely made me think about the way we base all of society around this institution, and how what conservatives consider “traditional” marriage… isn’t actually all that traditional at all. Actually, it’s a relatively new innovation across the spectrum of human history. Many incarnations of marriage in the distant and not-so-distant past would be considered near heretic by most conservatives today! Basically, society continuously recreates the definition of marriage to fit the norms and mores of the day.
If you enjoyed “Eat Pray Love”, I would recommend “Committed”. It didn’t hold my attention quite as well, but there were many interesting anecdotes and Gilbert is as good a writer as ever. Plus, you get to find out what happens between her and Felipe!