Monday, March 15, 2010

Committed, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Yes, I am one of the legions of fans of Gilbert's first best-seller, Eat, Pray, Love. But I was wary when I heard the "sequel" was coming out, afraid that it would be next to impossible for Gilbert to recreate what came together so brilliantly there. I worried she could never possibly capture the sheer exuberance and commonality of the we're-in-this-together-as-I-try-to-find-myself of the original. I feared Committed would taint the brand and be a cheaper, paler imitation of Eat, Pray, Love, much the same way every Rocky movie with a roman numeral sucked a little air out of the first.

But it didn't. As in Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert's voice is congenial and companionable; she's every woman's best girlfriend: understanding, intelligent, forgiving and loyal to a fault. Eat, Pray, Love leaves off as Gilbert finds love with a much older, divorced Brazilian and they decide to forge a life together. Then God, or rather Homeland Security, laughs at their plans, and tosses Fillipe out of the country unless Gilbert agrees to make an honest man out of him. Committed, like Eat, Pray, Love, is a little of everything: part journal, part amalgam of anthropological studies and part travelogue, all spackled together with big swathes of self-analysis. She slices and dices and dishes on every past, present or possible aspect of marriage, and then relates these examinations to her own life. She's a bit of an over-thinker, a woman after my own heart.
Whether or not you appreciate the ins and outs and the extreme analysis of her investigations without and within, you gotta admit she is a fine writer. In Committed, Gilbert weaves narrative and essay into a book that compels, educates, and is really fun to read. It's like listening to your chattiest best friend go on and on, but unlike most of us, amidst the chattiness, she actually makes headway and reaches a conclusion. I learned along with her, and loved it every step of the way.

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