Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s first book Eat, Pray, Love so when I saw that she had written more about her life I was eager to read what else she had to say. Her newest book Committed is devoted to exploring the meaning of marriage. Elizabeth most likely wrote this book to convince herself that there was something about marriage that is worth looking into a second time around.

Elizabeth comes from a family of strong women. Some of my favorite parts of this book are the stories about her grandmother and mother and the decisions they had to make in the times that they lived in. She uses her own history to connect some dots in her own life and how choosing a childfree life is connected to that history.

“Maybe it is precisely because I have seen the cost of motherhood in the lives of women I love and admire that I stand here, nearly forty years old, feeling no desire whatsoever for a baby of my own…”(185)

“I know this from painful personal experience because my first marriage fell apart—to a large extent—over the question of children. My then –husband had always assumed that we would have babies together one day. He had every right to make that assumption, since I had always assumed it myself, though I wasn’t entirely sure when I would want babies.” (186)

These words from the author are an example of why I found this book so captivating. She interjects some of her thoughts on very personal matters as she narrates the story of her life in present times. Her reflections on the past and how it impacted present and future decisions serves as a nice guide as to why some of her conclusions have been made. She is eccentric, impulsive and constantly analyzing things. As a reader I enjoy this aspect of her personality.

The author now finds herself married and a stepmother. I hope she will continue to write about her life. She definitely lives it boldly and outside the proverbial box. Her divorce, her discovery of self, falling in love and giving marriage a second chance are all themes that have become more common in these times. Elizabeth marches to the tune of her own drummer, and I have enjoyed and learned from what she has written. Hope there will be another book about her thoughts on being a step parent. I recommend this book as a reflection on the meaning of marriage and as a book written by a CF woman about her life and love a second time around. I think it would lend itself well to the discussion already begun in the forums regarding marriage and that little piece of paper!

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