It took me a long time to finally dive into Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert’s follow-up to Eat, Pray, Love. When the book was released earlier this year, I came across it at the airport, while passing time waiting for a flight to SFO. Having loved and so strongly identified with EPL, I was eager for Liz’s next book, but when I picked it up off the shelf at SeaTac last January, I nearly broke into a cold sweat.
Committed? Couldn’t she have come up with a title that isn’t also synonymous with checking oneself into a mental institution? And how about the subtitle: “makes peace with marriage.” Is THAT all there is? And, more importantly, why wasn’t there another Twilight installment to distract me from reality?
Then last Friday, I saw the EPL movie, which was an emotional tornado for oh-so-many reasons. (I was prepared with an entire roll of toilet paper in my purse – so chew on that metaphor.) But it helped me purge a lot of mental baggage and convinced me it was time to finally face my demons. For years, I’ve been writing about divorce and dating, processing divorce and dating, talking about divorce and dating. Frankly, I’m tired of it. I also think it’s keeping me mired in the past and it’s time to move forward. If I don’t do some hard thinking about how I feel about marriage and what I want from commitment, how am I ever going to get there?
When I walked out of the Majestic Bay on Friday evening, bleary-eyed and sniffly, I headed straight to the bookstore for a copy of Committed. Then I picked up some summery comfort food (clams and chips at Lockspot – holy yumminess), went home, uncorked a bottle of vino, decamped to the patio, and started the journey. And what an eye-opening trek it’s been so far. For one thing, there’s nothing like personal narrative interspersed with sociohistorical data to serve as literary porn for the writer/behavioral scientist (a la….ME). If you’re looking for another Eat, Pray, Love, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking to ask yourself some tough questions, Ms. Gilbert’s got your number.