Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Reads: Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

Comprometida: Una historia de amor / Committed: A Love Story (Spanish Edition)Picking up about 2 years after Eat, Pray, Love left off, suddenly Elizabeth and Felipe are faced with a conundrum.  Homeland Security has stopped Felipe from re-entering the US - a place where he has been happily living within the confines of temporary visas for two years.  They have informed him that he will not be allowed to continue this.  If he wants to live with Elizabeth, then he is going to need to find a way around it and, the officer absurdly announces, the easiest way would be to just marry her.

GASP!   Not the big M!!!  Neither Elizabeth or Felipe had even considered it to be something that would ever be in their future.  Coming from two disastrous marriages, they we firmly against the possibility...but they wanted to be together and Elizabeth wanted to have a home base that was near her family.  That meant the US.  They were going to need to wade through the bureaucratic red tape and get Felipe a more permanent solution...and it was going to have to be marriage.

But they had time to adjust to the idea as they awaited the process to secure Felipe's fiance visa.  So, Elizabeth started to research marriage as they hopped around from country to country while they waited. 

At first glance, the book seems as though it was written to follow Eat, Pray, Love and cash in on it's wild success, but she is quick to point out that the book was written while the first book was awaiting publication.  At that point, she had no idea how successful it would turn out.

Unfortunately, the general tone to the book reads more like a research book on marriages around the world.  She claims to be looking at western marriage, but it felt more like she was focused on the marriage customs and traditions in Asia and the villages they stayed in on their journey.

Part travel book, part marriage guide, part personal journey, part research project...Committed is a decent read. I enjoyed it, though it wasn't what I was expecting. I am glad I didn't spend actual money on it - the library was my best friend on this one.  Read it, returned it...I don't see my life or marriage as particularly enhanced for having read it.  I didn't have any great takeaways from it (though I did find some of the customs she wrote about to be really interesting).

Do I recommend Committed?  Well, if you liked the story of Elizabeth and Felipe in the first book...it gives you an idea of where it went after.  Some of it is pretty tedious, but the book is not without it's merits.  I found it very interesting when she would talk about wedding customs from different tribes.  I also liked following her and Felipe a bit more because I'm kind of stalker-ish like that (kidding).  Ultimately, though, the book read like her knowing she had to get married but needing to convince herself that it was okay.   I think choosing to read it is a personal decision and I am not going to put forth a recommendation on those grounds.  If it helps - I'm glad it was a library book I could return.

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