Benjamin’s second post looks at a sequel.
Committed is the follow up memoir to Eat, Pray, Love. The first book told of Ms. Gilbert’s journey from unstable, heartbroken, despondent, divorcee to balanced, enlightened, fulfilled girlfriend. This memoir recounts her adventures soon after finding the love of her life. As with her previous memoir, the author reads Committed, which adds to the enjoyment of it.
The story is predicated on events that occur during what might have been a routine effort by the couple to enter the United States. Liz (i.e. the author) and her Brazilian boyfriend Felipe find their love affair torn asunder by Homeland Security regulations. Felipe is barred from entering the United States. The only way to remedy the situation is to get married. But, there are two problems; it will take months to collect all the necessary paperwork and proof to convince the U.S. government there is a valid reason to issue a Fiancé visa to Felipe that will allow them to marry on American soil (which is necessary for them to live in the US) and two, the couple, both divorced, have vowed never to marry again.
Faced with the scenario of separate or marry, they decide they love each other enough to officially tie the knot. However, first they must complete pounds of paperwork and collect miles of proof to confirm their credibility and non-terrorist intentions. Exiled from American soil until the paperwork can be completed, they find themselves wandering through South East Asia trying to survive. While the constant travel and untenable waiting leads to stress and dissatisfaction for the individuals involved, this is not really the story of Liz and Filipe’s love affair coming apart. They have disagreements, but nothing catastrophic.
In fact, this is a recounting of Liz’s efforts to justify, accept and embrace the concept of marriage. As the couple travel, the author researches the institution of marriage, including its history, purpose and importantly, modern women’s experiences with it. She looks at why marriage became a part of society (largely for economic factors), how the institution has been viewed by different religions through the centuries, who gets married, why marriages work or do not, and what the institution means in various cultures. She interviews females she meets and women from her life about their views and experiences with marriage. She is conflicted in part because the institution is being forced upon her and in part because she is scared of again committing herself to a legal concept that once nearly destroyed her.
Her interesting and detailed journey keeps the reader hoping she will eventually find peace. As the title reveals, by the end of her story, Liz has come to terms with marriage. For readers who have been happily married for many years, the author’s attempt to justify her aversion to marriage may be difficult to accept. But, the author is honest and open about herself and her relationship and that makes the book human and touching. She includes the reader in her very personal journey, a glimpse into her world that encourages personal reflection for anyone who reads Committed.
Check the WRL catalog for Committed