Recap: What do you do when you find love and want to keep the person you love in your life forever? You get married, right? You commit. But for Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, marriage and commitment are not one in the same. As told in the memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert goes on an international trip to find herself and make sense of her recent and very messy divorce. Gilbert never expects to fall in love with a man that she meets in Bali, but she does. Felipe is also divorced, and the two mutually decide to never marry again, but agree to stay committed to each other and be together for the long haul.
Gilbert writes in Committed that this is all fine and dandy, until Felipe faces deportation from the United States. After months and months of renewing visas and living with Gilbert in America, Felipe is finally stopped by security at an airport and is told he cannot enter the States unless he becomes a U.S. citizen. The easiest way to do that, of course, is to marry Gilbert. But Felipe and Elizabeth had already decided they would never get married. Committed takes us through Elizabeth’s decision to ultimately marry the love of her life — not out of desire, but out of necessity.
Analysis: Committed begins in typical memoir-like fashion — the beginning of a story, mixed with a little background. But soon, the book transitions into a study of the history of Western marriage. Almost immediately, it becomes obvious to Elizabeth that if she wants to spend the rest of her life with Felipe, she has no choice but to marry him. But in order to come to terms with it, she commits herself to something else — understanding marriage. Gilbert spends much of Committed explaining different marriage customs around the world, giving statistics about how marriage affects women versus how it affects men, and speaking with other women about what marriage means to them.
Committed wasn’t the book I expected it to be, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. As someone who has read Eat, Pray, Love, I expected more story, more memoir, and less…well, research. At times, I was bored and wanted her to get back to the story of her and Felipe. But she always came back around to their story, and ultimately, the research that she does is fascinating. Gilbert’s story may not be the most impressive one I’ve ever read, but it is interesting and makes you think about marriage in a different way. I highly recommend Committed for any woman who is married or thinking about getting married.