Literature: Gilbert’s Committed

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed is holding its place this week at #2 on the NY Times bestseller list in the nonfiction category. Committed skyrocketed to the #1 position just after it was released by Viking in the first week of January. I’m a big fan of Gilbert’s The Last American Man (2002), even more a fan of that book than of Eat, Pray, Love (2006)—even though most people on the planet seem to adore that one more than any of her others. In Committed, Gilbert takes up her writing, at some level, where Eat, Pray, Love leaves off. She’s now engaged to Felipe, the Brazilian man she fell in love with in EPL, even though both parties have sworn never to marry again (having both been through painful divorces). But when the Department of Homeland Security cuffs Felipe and detains him at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, Liz and Felipe face a stark decision: they either need to get married, or Felipe won’t be allowed to legally enter the country again.

Committed contains more than the self-exploration and brokenhearted globetrotting that defines EPL. Yes, it’s still adventurous and far-flung, as Gilbert and her guy wander through Southeast Asia in a state of near-exile while waiting for their fiancé visa to get approved. But Committed also takes a good look at the culture and history surrounding the Western marriage tradition…and it brings up many thought-provoking questions in the process.

Final word: Book clubs are going to go crazy over Committed…but I still think that The Last American Man is Gilbert’s best book so far, by far.

Photo credit: Viking

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