At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe - a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who'd been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married. (Both survivors of difficult divorces. Enough said.)
But providence intervened one day in the form of the U.S. government, who - after unexpectedly detaining Felipe at an American border crossing - gave the couple a choice: they could either get married, or Felipe would never be allowed to enter the country again. Having been effectively sentenced to wed, Gilbert tackled her fears of marriage by delving completely into this topic, trying with all her might to discover (through historical research, interviews and much personal reflection) what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is.
The result is Committed- a witty and intelligent contemplation of marriage that debunks myths, unthreads fears and suggests that sometimes even the most romantic of souls must trade in her amorous fantasies for the humbling responsibility of adulthood. Gilbert's memoir - destined to become a cherished handbook for any thinking person hovering on the verge of marriage - is ultimately a clear-eyed celebration of love, with all the complexity and consequence that real love, in the real world, actually entails.