This book made me seriously consider never getting married (not that anyone’s lining up to marry me, but should it come up), and I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or not.
I read Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert’s first memoir style book awhile back and really enjoyed it, so when my friend bought me Committed this weekend, I jumped at the chance to read it. I certainly wasn’t disappointed, it was witty and full of self examination. It is primarily cynical wit, if you’re looking for an even discussion of marriage this book is certainly not for you! While approaching her own marriage with a great deal of childishness, Gilbert approaches marriage as a whole in a mature, though biased way. You can certainly tell she is bitter and unlikely to convince herself not to be. The ever present humour of her writing is very negative, she takes a poke at the institution of marriage whenever possible, but I always found it funny.
The best part, I think, about how Gilbert writes is her tendency to use anecdotes. One story will lead directly into another, which introduces another and eventually she’ll sum up the point you were supposed to get from all of it. In this book, she goes from Philadelphia, to Vietnam, to Cambodia and back to Bali, all in order to save her relationship and understand the relationships of the world around her.
My particular favourite part of this book was her section on the history of marriage. Gilbert provides a brief telling of the story of marriage as a cultural (read: Western cultural) institution in ways that are easy to understand and digest. This entire section makes for an excellent argument for the shifting nature of marriage, far from the stalwart and constant institution the right wing would have us believe in. She then concludes by adding her voice in support of same sex marriage in the United States, which I was hoping would come somewhere in this book.
Overall, it is a really random book to read as someone who has never been married or even close, but I really enjoyed the humour of it. Some of the negativity definitely needs to be taken with a grain of salt but I would recommend it to anyone that enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love or takes romance a little too seriously and needs to come down to earth a bit, I know I did!