Friday, December 17, 2010

After eating, praying, loving. . .

When I picked up the audiotape of Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed, I'll confess that I thought I was buying Eat, Pray, Love (since that title was written on the box larger than the actual book title:

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.

Maybe I exaggerate. But I honestly didn't realize I had a different book until it started. With the movie out, I figured I needed to know about the book to be able to hold my own in conversations about it. Committed, however, ended up being quite an interesting reading experience. Gilbert writes about her decision to marry--after feeling quite determined she'd never go down that (bridal) path again. The tensions (particular at airports) after 9/11 certainly set things in motion, since she was in a long-term committed relationship with a man of Brazilian citizenship living in Australia (or Bali).

As I kept listening, I was particularly interesting in her research into the historical, religious, sociological aspects of marriage. She and "Phillipe," her prospective husband, spent time in Laos while awaiting the completion of her background checks and his immigration papers. While there, she interviewed women of the community about their own marriage, often provoking incredulous laughter. She also delved into the marriages of her grandmother, her parents, and older neighbors.

In one chapter, she discussing the contrast between Greek and Hebrew mindsets (designations not determined by one's nationality and heritage but beliefs and philosophies.

Having been "committed" to marriage myself for more than thirty-four years, the book didn't change my own feelings about marriage, but it certainly piqued my interest and gave me food for thought.

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