A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage is the bestselling follow-up to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. This book has a much different tone than her first, which was completely introspective and conversational. This one takes a much more matter-of-fact approach, as Gilbert essentially provides us with a history lesson on marriage throughout the first part of the book.
While I was looking forward to reading it — especially being such a fan of the first book — I wasn’t blown away. I was actually quite bored for the better part of the book. It was interesting to read about the lengths Gilbert took in exploring the topic of marriage before she was to marry her lover – which, she states clearly throughout the book that they had decided to not marry, both being scarred from divorce, but unfortunately became forced into matrimony by the government.
In one of their many visits back and forth across the nation to visit one another, keeping their relationship alive, Felipe, Gilbert’s lover, was detained at the airport in Dallas. A customs agent broke the news that he could not return again unless he married Gilbert, who then sets out to explore marriage – all its hows, whys and whens – to I suppose feel better about the leap of faith that she was about to take. The book is part history, part diary. While I found some interest in the history presented, it seemed to drag for me and I wanted it over with. Gilbert spends times with the Hmong women in Vietnam and asks them about customs of marriage, for example. She also explores marriage in Iran and early Christian marriage, among others.
What I did like was when the history lessons broke away and we got to see our narrator once again from Eat, Pray, Love. She talks openly about her relationship with Felipe. My favorite part was when she and Felipe actually get into an argument because they seem so perfect all the time from her description. It was a relief. Yes! They’re human, too!
I would say if you read and loved Gilbert’s first book and want to know what happened next, you might enjoy Committed. I didn’t find myself as engaged. Although our old friendly narrator is there, she’s muddled in with a lot of history on marriage that – while interesting and all – wasn’t what I was interested in at the moment.
Sara Berelsmsn lives in Delphos with her husband Andy and their daughters Adele and Eleanor. She has an M.A. in literature and leads the book club discussions at the Delphos Public Library.