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Committed: A Love Story Paperback – February 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gilbert's sequel to the megabestselling Eat, Pray, Love is a serious, sincere, yet ultimately tedious slog of a listen. Debating whether or not to marry her boyfriend, the author embarks on a one-year study of marriage's evolution, cultural variations, pitfalls, and pleasures. It's earnest and heartfelt, but there's no story. Gilbert's encapsulations of her research cannot sustain the reader's interest, and her forays into amateur anthropology in Southeast Asia are crude and uncharitable: she vacillates between tropes of the happy savage and crowing that the Hmong women she interviews will never know her level of education, health, and agency. But these considerable flaws belong to the material alone; Gilbert's reading is unimpeachable. Her voice is low, warm, slightly hoarse; her attitude is confiding and self-deprecating, and her charm does much in making the book's less palatable sections go down easily. A Viking hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 23). (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Sure it garnered starred reviews, but who knew that Gilbert’s memoir about her quest for psychic healing, Eat, Pray, Love (2006), would become what she describes as a “megajumbo international best-seller”? Or that she would be in demand as a relationship guru? Or that her relationship with Felipe, the Brazilian businessman she fell in love with in Bali, would get so complicated? An Australian citizen, Felipe was living with Gilbert in the U.S. on a visa-to-visa basis until Homeland Security denied him reentry. As post-traumatic-divorce syndrome sufferers, they swore never to remarry, but marry they must if they want to be together in the States. This effort involves a humongous amount of red tape and time, so they set off on a rambling trip across Southeast Asia, and Gilbert tries to banish her fears by embarking on a crash course in the history, practice, and meaning of marriage. Her far-roaming inquiry, much of it focused on the paradoxes in women’s lives, is presumptuous and trite one moment (her observations about women in Asia are cringe-inducing) and incisive and funny the next (her portraits of her grandmother and mother are sensitive and scintillating). Ultimately, she tells an irresistibly romantic tale spiked with unusual and resonant insights into love and marriage. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143118706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143118701
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (572 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, as well as the short story collection, Pilgrims--a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and winner of the 1999 John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares. A Pushcart Prize winner and National Magazine Award-nominated journalist, she works as writer-at-large for GQ. Her journalism has been published in Harper's Bazaar, Spin, and The New York Times Magazine, and her stories have appeared in Esquire, Story, and the Paris Review.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

474 of 495 people found the following review helpful By Grace on January 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I adore Eat, Pray, Love for a variety of reasons. This book however, is not Eat, Pray, Love. Thankfully, it doesn't pretend to be. My advice: don't read "Committed" if you are hoping to lose yourself in a compelling story, because you might get bored. Read it if you are interested in learning about marriage - what it is and what it is not, why it sometimes works and why it sometimes doesn't - and are prepared to examine your own assumptions about this beautiful yet fraught concept.

Some readers may not consider this work an adequate sequel to EPL for stylistic reasons - the storyline is simpler, the tone more somber, and the laughs rarer. But I'm not one of them. For me (and I can only speak for myself), EPL was a pleasure to read because it helped me learn more about myself and my relationship to relationships, which is precisely what "Committed" succeeds at doing. What could be more useful than a book that celebrates not only marriage, but the self inquiry and interpersonal work required to sustain one? For that matter, what could be more romantic?
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336 of 361 people found the following review helpful By KimberlyA. on January 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Embarking on writing a major work after the spectacular Eat, Pray, Love, must have been no easy feat. However, undaunted and honest as ever, Elizabeth Gilbert provides an eye-opening and thorough account of the colossal entity we call marriage. We have all grown up accepting marriage as a given. It seems to be taken as common place that people simply grow up and get married- and then (of course) live happily ever after. Or is it that easy?

Not so fast, Gilbert warns us. Do we completely know what we are getting into? What happens to us as independent beings when we marry? What makes a marriage more likely to succeed, and what makes it more likely to fail? What are the economic, social, and legal ties that bind us and do we even understand the significance of them? How are we able to somehow throw love in the mix as well? Extremely timely and pertinent questions with serious implications. Some of the most interesting and thought provoking aspects of the book- a glimpse into the lives of the Hmong women in Asia (who view marriage not as a solution to all of life's problems and seem to have no qualms whatsoever about this), how marriage was viewed by different religions throughout the centuries- not always so 'sacred', and the way marriage has been used to secure money, power, and property throughout history. Quite simply, Gilbert explains this institution has been pulled, prodded, and changed for centuries- yet still it remains. There is something, then that draws us still to marry. Gilbert (thrown rather harshy into marriage by the US government) walks away with a brokered peace with marriage and a deeper understanding of what it means to be married- as she embarks on her own marriage. The reader has a deeper understanding as well.
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75 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Anne Caroline Drake on January 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Committed" is a natural sequel to EPL. Elizabeth Gilbert's EPL is her path to recovery from divorce.

Most folks who have been divorced are highly reluctant to trot down the aisle again. . .will we be more successful this time?

Gilbert and "Felipe" were broke and broken at the end of their first marriages. They were gun-shy until the INS got out the shotgun.

The book is equal part examination of how the US government can create havoc in people's most intimate relationships as it is an examination of what it takes to have an enduring marriage and to experience unconditional love and true intimacy.

If you are looking for a starry-eyed romantic look at love, this isn't the book for you.

But, if you are serious about creating an enduring, mature, loving, intimate relationship, this book will give you much to ponder and discuss with the love of your life. It would be an excellent gift for any engaged couple.
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127 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Heather A. Conrad on January 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert and loved Eat, Pray, Love as well as her talk on creativity at the TED conference circulating on YouTube. Her blend of factual information, anecdote and creative interpretation is illuminating and entertaining. And Committed has its share of humor and aha! moments.

In her preface to Committed, Gilbert says she originally wrote a 500-page version of this book, then discarded it. She implies it was too pedantic, so the second time she wrote it imagining only an audience of close women friends. I believe this gives the book a talky, chatty quality that does not translate well to the written page. There are too many "anyways", redundancies and extraneous phrases. If she were speaking this text to us, we could experience her gestures and facial expressions, inflection and dramatic pauses; the audiovisuals of conversation would keep us interested. But on the two-dimensional page, I found myself growing impatient and wishing she had thinned the verbiage by 30 per cent.

I also felt uncomfortable with the amount of very personal information she revealed about her husband and her parents. A confessional approach to one's own life by a memoirist is one thing; to expose and discuss other peoples' intimate feelings and issues seems exploitative.

Another problem was the lack of sourcing for her valuable factual data, particularly, her fascinating material on the evolution of marriage. This information could be very useful to call out the "ancient tradition" excuse for social repression. But without sources, it's much less useful. She did list about 20 authors in one sentence in her acknowledgements but this doesn't help much.
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