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Cover image for Committed : [a skeptic makes peace with marriage]
Format:
Title:
Committed : [a skeptic makes peace with marriage]
ISBN:
9780143145752

9780307715357

9781408808849
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Penguin Audio, ℗2010.
Physical Description:
7 audio discs (approximately 8 1/2 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Unabridged audio version of the book.

In container (15 cm.).

Compact discs.
Summary:
Presents the latest chapter of the author's life. Although she has fallen in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man living in Indonesia, Gilbert must make peace with the idea of marriage before she remarries. When the couple attempts to settle in America and Felipe faces possible deportation, Gilbert is forced to swallow her pride and enter into matrimony.
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306.81 Gilbert
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CD 306.81 GILBERT
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306.81 GILBERT
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Summary

Summary

A celebrated writer pens an irresistible, candid, and eloquent account of her pursuit of worldly pleasure, spiritual devotion, and what she really wanted out of life.


Author Notes

Elizabeth Gilbert was born in Waterbury, Connecticut on July 18, 1969. She received an undergraduate degree in political science from New York University. After college, she spent several years traveling around the country, working odd jobs and writing short stories. Early in her career, she also worked as a journalist for such publications as Spin, GQ and The New York Times Magazine. An article she wrote in GQ about her experiences bartending on the Lower East Side eventually became the basis for the movie Coyote Ugly.

She writes both fiction and nonfiction and her books include the short story collection Pilgrims, Stern Men, The Last American Man, Committed, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, and The Signature of All Things. Her memoir Eat, Pray, Love, was adapted into a movie starring Julia Roberts. She will be featured at the Sydney Writers Festival in March 2016.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

How does an author follow up a smash international bestseller that has catapulted her from obscurity into fame and riches she never dreamed of? Very carefully. Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert's first book since the multimillion-selling Eat, Pray, Love, was written so carefully that it's actually her second attempt (she scrapped the first one after she decided the voice was wrong). The good news is her voice is clear and winning. The bad news is the structure doesn't work. Part history, part travelogue, Committed often makes for a jumpy read. Still, Gilbert remains the spirited storyteller she was in EPL, and her central question is a good one-how can a divorce-scarred feminist make a case for marriage? EPL ended in Bali with Gilbert falling in love with Felipe, a hot, older Brazilian divorce. Book clubs across the country passionately debated her message: "Is Gilbert saying I need a man to be happy?"; "What if I go to Bali and don't meet the love of my life?"; and "How did a woman who didn't want children land the only Latino hottie with a vasectomy in all of Indonesia?" In the year following their meeting, Felipe and Gilbert cobbled together a long-distance relationship; he would stay with her in the U.S. for 90-day jaunts, and the rest of the time they'd live apart or travel the world. One day in the spring of 2006, they returned to the Dallas Airport and Felipe was detained at the border. A customs agent said he could not enter the country again unless he married Gilbert. Gilbert spent the next year in exile with Felipe-straining the relationship-and did a lot of reading about marriage. In jaunty, ever-curious prose she tells us that today's Hmong women in Vietnam don't expect their husbands to be their best friends; that in modern Iran young couples can marry for a day; and that early Christians were actually against marriage, seeing it as antireligious. It's all fascinating stuff, but ultimately Gilbert is more interested in the history of divorce than marriage. The reader can feel both her excitement when she tells us that in medieval Germany there were two kinds of marriages, one more casual than the other, and her rage when she recounts the ill effects of the Church on divorce as it "turned marriage into a life sentence." For all of its academic ambition, the juiciest bits of Committed are the personal ones, when she tells us stories about her family. There's a great scene involving the way her grandfather scattered her grandmother's ashes, and a painfully funny story of a fight Gilbert and Felipe had on a 12-hour bus ride in Laos. The bus is bumpy, the travelers exhausted, and both feel the frustration of not being able to make a home together. They bicker, and she tries and fails at a couples-therapy technique, and a "heated silence went on for a long time." Later in the story, when she is hemming and hawing about the Meaning of It All, he says, "When are you going to understand? As soon as we secure this bloody visa and get ourselves safely married back in America, we can do whatever the hell we want." I am happy for Gilbert that she did a lot of research before tying the knot again, but she already did the most important thing a gun-shy bride can do: choose the right mate. Amy Sohn is the author of the novel Prospect Park West. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Kirkus Review

In the follow up to Eat, Pray, Love (2006), Gilbert examines her reluctant marriage to Felipe, the Brazilian businessman she met at the end of her post-divorce travels, and considers her doubts about the institution of marriage. After the narrative of her previous book ended, Gilbert and her beau moved to the United States, promised never to get married and set about building a life together. Immigration law soon intervened, however, when Felipe was denied entry to the country. The only solution was marriage, and the memoir recounts how the couple was "sentenced to marry by the Homeland Security Department." Both Gilbert and Felipe, however, had deep reservations about matrimonysome philosophical, some personal. The author narrates the months spent traveling abroad while waiting for the government to process the requisite paperwork, as well as Gilbert's quest to interview people from different cultures regarding marriage. She also delves into contemporary research on matrimony, divorce and happiness. In Southeast Asia, Hmong women don't have the same expectations about emotional fulfillment in marriage. "Perhaps I was asking too much of love," writes Gilbert. Her mother, we learn, loved raising children but profoundly regretted the loss of her career: "If I dwell on that too much, honest to God, I become so enraged, I can't even see straight." Gilbert provides a variety of grim statistics about marriage, her thoughts on gay marriage and a "rant" on gender inequity and social-conservative constructions of the institution. Presented in the author's easy-going, conversational style, the material is intriguing and often insightful. However, readers may wonder if Gilbert has actually made her peace with marriage, despite the nuptials at the end. "Forgive me then, if, at the end of my story," she writes, "I seem to be grasping at straws in order to reach comforting conclusions about matrimony." A vaguely depressing account of how intimate relationships are complicated by marriage, divorce and expectations about both. Given Gilbert's popularity and the state of marriage in America, however, the book is likely to become a bestseller. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

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.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2009 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

When exactly was it that "Eat, Pray, Love," Elizabeth Gilbert's 2006 memoir about her divorce and subsequent year of travel in Italy, India and Indonesia, crossed from mere best seller - published in more than 30 languages, feted by Oprah - to cultural phenomenon? The film adaptation is due out later this year, with Gilbert played by (but of course) Julia Roberts; some of the people Gilbert wrote about, including her ex-husband, are now working on books of their own; and Gilbert's second appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" featured such admiring readers as a woman who had actually retraced much of Gilbert's around-the-world journey. Perhaps most impressive of all, in a sign of what a widely understood reference point the book has become, it inspired a headline in The Onion: "Copy of 'Eat, Pray, Love' Left on Elliptical." So self-aware, accommodating and generally good-natured a writer is Gilbert that in "Committed" she gives us what we want by addressing the "Eat, Pray, Love" business right away - as in, before the new book even officially begins, in a prefatory note to the reader. No, she tells us, she had no idea how big "Eat, Pray, Love" would be (a claim believable in part because of that book's candor about topics like constipation, masturbation and two-way conversations with God). Yes, after the success of "Eat, Pray, Love," she was freaked out and self-conscious and wondered if she was finished as a writer, in spite of the fact that she'd written three earlier books, all well received and one nominated for a National Book Award. And no, she doesn't think she can replicate the popularity of "Eat, Pray, Love," but here's the book she needed to write this time around. Once that's out of the way, we pick up pretty much where "Eat, Pray, Love" left off, with Gilbert in the arms of the boyfriend she pseudonymously calls Felipe - a debonair Brazilian gemstone importer who had become an Australian citizen and met Gilbert while he was living in Bali. He is older, 55 to her 37 when "Committed" starts in the spring of 2006. They've established a happy rhythm in which they mostly share a rented house in suburban Philadelphia, but in order to comply with visa restrictions Felipe leaves the country for several weeks every three months; for two inveterate travelers and independent personalities, this routine is no big deal. Felipe also has been through a divorce, he has adult children and he's as determined as Gilbert not to ruin the good thing they have by marrying. Alas, their agreeable arrangement is upended when the couple is returning together from a trip overseas and Felipe is detained at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. A Department of Homeland Security officer explains that Felipe's repeated three-month stints in the United States in fact violate the terms of his visa. He must leave the country immediately, and the fastest way for him to return on a permanent basis is for the couple to get married. With Felipe jailed overnight then sent to Australia, Gilbert continues alone to Philadelphia to pack up their rental house. The couple reconnects in Southeast Asia (it's cheap there, and "Eat, Pray, Love" hasn't yet hit it big) with a plan to travel for the next 10 months while waiting for the paperwork required for Felipe's new visa to go through. Since they're headed toward a wedding whether they like it or not, Gilbert will also use this time to figure out the institution of marriage, not only by researching its history but also by discussing the subject with everyone with whom she has contact - from her own family members to Hmong grannies in rural Vietnam. As a tour guide to both Asia and matrimony, Gilbert is consistently entertaining and illuminating and often funny. That said, something about the premise and structure of this book feels off. Gilbert's pattern is to chronicle a firsthand experience during her and Felipe's "exile" and then use that experience as a point of departure for delving into various aspects of marriage. At an Internet cafe in Luang Prabang, Laos, for instance, she notices that the young Buddhist monk checking his e-mail at the computer next to hers has received a message from a person named Carla containing this eyebrow-raising sentence: "I still long for you as my lover." Gilbert doesn't speak to the monk, nor does she see him again - and Gilbert being Gilbert, she has the good manners to chide herself for reading his e-mail in the first place - but this one glimpsed sentence prompts her to ponder, for the next 40 pages, infatuation, adultery and divorce. While her musings are usually interesting, some of the connections between her brief firsthand experiences in Asia and the larger phenomena they're meant to illustrate seem tenuous. And this, in turn, accentuates the neither-fish-nor-fowl quality of "Committed," a criticism Gilbert anticipates by self-mockingly referring to it as "another memoir (with extra socio-historical bonus sections!)." She's right, though - the book is rather chatty and personal to be so heavy on research, but it's rather researched to be so chatty and personal. Gilbert is equally likely to quote Plato or her friend Ann, and equally keen to discuss how attitudes toward marriage changed from the Old to the New Testament, how important - according to evolutionary biologists - the vasopressin receptor gene is in determining male fidelity, and how her own parents have managed to stay together for more than 40 years. While such shifts between the factual and the subjective shouldn't be inherently problematic, they made me feel lost as a reader: where in the history of marriage were we, and were we moving forward chronologically or thematically, and how long had Gilbert and Felipe been traveling, and what month was it again? Because of the nature of the couple's sojourn - as they wait for Felipe's American visa, they are, Gilbert mentions more than once, "killing time" - a slackness permeates their days, and soon permeates the pages as well. In "Eat, Pray, Love," Gilbert was on the run from an ugly divorce, and her story contained the forward momentum of a quest and the juicy tension of unanswered questions: Would she attain personal equanimity? Would she put aside her doubts and give in again to romance? The central question of "Committed" is less of a nail-biter: Will Gilbert be able to overcome her aversion to marriage in order to live in the same country as the man she deeply loves? If they had to marry but she didn't deeply love him - if, say, she hated him yet was secretly drawn to his broad shoulders and rakish ways - well, then you'd have the plot of more than one of the bodice-rippers I devoured in adolescence. But it's not giving anything away to say that of course Gilbert reconciles herself to remarrying - the book's subtitle announces as much. This foregone conclusion means that "Committed" often seems an intellectual exercise, an internal rather than external journey, whereas "Eat, Pray, Love" was both. AND yet, if the sum of the parts in "Committed" add up to an awkward whole, many of those parts are nevertheless terrific. Gilbert provides an abundance of interesting factoids: ancient Roman law recognized marriage between aristocratic males, she says. Divorce rates skyrocket when arranged marriages give way to "love marriages." Papua New Guineans have a special category of songs about "marriages which never came to pass but should have." Gilbert also shares practical tips, including a remarkably clear and simple recipe, drawn from the research of the psychologist Shirley P. Glass, on how not to cheat on your spouse (the short version: Don't confide in anyone else more than you do in him or her). And Gilbert has written some wonderfully memorable scenes, among them a description of the life of her maternal grandmother, Maude Edna Morcomb Olson, who was born in 1913 in central Minnesota with a cleft palate. Assumed by those around her to have no shot at marriage, Maude was allowed to stay in school longer than other rural children and then travel, work, accumulate money, acquire a wine-colored coat with a real fur collar and finally, defying expectations, get married after all to a "staggeringly handsome" farmer with whom she had seven children. Another strong section is Gilbert's brutally honest depiction of an excursion to Cambodia she takes without Felipe. Her frankness about the fact that the trip is a disaster is all the braver given that Gilbert clearly prides herself on her ability to navigate foreign countries. Then there's the delightful digression on "aunties," or women who don't have children - Gilbert is childless by choice - and the important role they play for their literal and figurative nieces and nephews; it should be copied and given as a present to all such women. By the end Gilbert had indeed convinced me that "the book that I needed to write was exactly this book." Because really, in the wake of "Eat, Pray, Love," wasn't she damned if she did and damned if she didn't? If this book were too similar to that one, some readers would say it was repetitive. If it were a complete departure, other readers would say she ought to have stuck to what she does well. By bringing along some elements, like exotic international locations, and leaving behind others, like a certain emotional rawness, she will no doubt displease those who will think she brought along what she should have left behind and left what she should have brought. But I'll bet most fans of "Eat, Pray, Love" will be quite content, book clubs nationwide will have a grand time debating "Committed," and even those of us with grouchier dispositions -including those of us who review books - can appreciate the closure of knowing that Gilbert and Felipe live happily ever after. Gilbert generously permits us to be virtual guests at her wedding, and for all her before-the-fact reluctance (she compares planning a wedding to waiting for a colonoscopy), the scene is as sweet and satisfying as the end of any movie where Hugh Grant plays the groom. And so with "Committed" Gilbert has gotten something out of her system, allowed her readers to do the same, and now can move in a different direction. Personally, I think Grandma Maude's life would make a fantastic novel. Gilbert's marriage is prompted by an airport Homeland Security officer. Curtis Sittenfeld's most recent novel is "American Wife."


Library Journal Review

Gilbert's (www.elizabethgilbert.com) second memoir, following the No. 1 New York Times best seller Eat, Pray, Love (2006)-also available from Books on Tape and Penguin Audio-finds her struggling with her aversion to marriage as her new love, Felipe, faces deportation. The title is as much a sociological and anthropological treatise on the institution of marriage as it is the author's chronicle of a life chapter. Gilbert herself reads, in an honest and engaging voice. Fans of her first memoir will be interested in this one, but Committed can stand alone and may appeal to appreciators of memoir and fiction alike who enjoy the practical sensibilities of and unique locales presented by Sue Monk Kidd and Kathryn Stockett. [See Major Audio Releases, LJ 12/09; the Viking hc, an LJ Best Seller, was "highly recommended for anyone considering tying the knot," LJ Online, 11/5/09; the film adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts, is scheduled for an August release.-Ed.]-Nicole A. Cooke, Montclair State Univ. Lib., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.