Book Review: Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Eat, Pray, Love was such a big hit to me that when Elizabeth Gilbert delivered her second installment entitled, Committed, I did not have second thoughts buying it. Both books are more of a memoir rather than a novel because Ms. Gilbert recounts her personal experiences in coming up with her own definitions of a relationship (Eat, Pray, Love) and marriage (Committed). Her wisdom is borne out of the heartaches she went through while forming her own life rules. What is most admirable is her humility to accept what she lacks, a first step in improving oneself before moving on to another relationship.

Elizabeth Gilbert's first marriage did not work out. Since then, she became skeptic in the sacrament of matrimony. But unexpectedly, while soul searching in Bali, Indonesia, love knocked on her door again. She and her lover, a Brazilian named Felipe, was content not to rock the boat by getting married again (Felipe was also divorced). Felipe would periodically go in and out of the United States to be with Elizabeth and this setup was perfect for them. However, one day the US Immigration noticed this frequency and Felipe was barred from re-entering the country. The status quo was as good as it lasted, but if they wanted to stay together, they had to break the status quo. The only solution was for them to get married and legalize Felipe's citizenship as an American.

In Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert made a blow by blow account of the process she went through to make peace with marriage. For her, she did not want to get married just for her and Felipe's convenience. Rather, she wanted to re-explore it and understand it better so that this second time around, marriage will be much better and nurtured compared to her first union.

Throughout the book, perhaps the most important thing that Ms. Gilbert clarified is that she wrote that book to help herself and not for anybody else. Thus, once in a while, it is possible to come across something she holds true that may be contrary to a reader's belief. However, she is not concerned with that because it runs contrary to the main purpose of writing her memoir. One of the more debatable issues in her liberal views about marriage is that she is not keen on bearing her own child. It was one of the reasons that caused the downfall of her first marriage. With Felipe, this is not a problem because the man already had children from his previous marriage and had no desire anymore to bear more children from Ms. Gilbert. This alone immediately got things going for the couple. Many steadfast believers on procreation being the center of marriage will find Gilbert's stand quite radical, but it works for them so that's what matters most.

It was not an easy journey for Elizabeth Gilbert. She went as far as going to various places to learn about different cultures on marriage and find out what she could apply to her own life. It was all in the effort of grasping a realistic take on marital union that so many people uphold. It can all be very institutionalized but the fact remains that two people are in it together to make it as real and workable as possible. Commitment, compromise, trust and respect are just some of the words to live by every minute until death do you part.

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