Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love(rs): Get thee to a newsstand to read an excerpt of Committed

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert's follow-up to Eat, Pray, Love, "is and isn't a sequel," she told the New York Times.  “It’s the same two characters, but it’s a very different setting and emotional backdrop. The second book has more of an academic contemplation and more of my family in it.”

Committed comes out in January, but O Magazine gives its readers a sneak peek in its January 2010 issue.  In her interview with Lucy Kaylin, Gilbert talks about the success of Eat, Pray, Love, and the pressure that put on her next book. "People want three things simultaneously from your next endeavor: They love what you did, so they want more of that.  But they also want it to be totally different, because you have to show that you're reinventing yourself, a la Madonna.  And they want it to be better.  The same, different, and better.  So, no pressure there.  Done and done."

I loved, I devoured Eat, Pray, Love.  I re-read, underlined, and dog-eared it, feeling a strong connection to a woman who didn't want the typical life, who put into words why a life lived outside the box makes people uncomfortable.  As she said in this O interview, "Where other women hear that tick, tick, tick, and they're like, Must have baby, for me, it was like, tick, tick, tick, boom. [Laughs] It was a biological clock, but it was attached to a bunch of C-4 explosives."

I also connected to her hope and realistic dreams of falling in love.  One of my favorite parts of the excerpt in O is both her description of her love for Felipe, and her practical, no fairy tale ending laundry list of her faults, and their differences.  How no one will ever fill every one of your needs or truly "complete" you, but in spite of that, or really, because of that, what a great, healthy relationship can do for your soul.  Read a bit here, and then go pick up the January O magazine.
"Have I actually gotten this far without having yet said that clearly? I love this man.  I love him for countless ridiculous reasons.  I love his square, sturdy, Hobbit-like feet.  I love the way he always sings 'La Vie en Rose' when he's cooking dinner. (Needless to say, I love that he cooks dinner.) I love how he speaks almost perfect English but still, even after all these years with the language, sometimes manages to invent marvelous words.  ('Smoothfully' is a personal favorite of mine, thought I'm also fond of 'lulu-bell,' which is Felipe's own lovely translation for the word 'lullaby.')  ...

"I love him and therefore I want to protect him — even from me, if that makes sense. I didn't want to skip any steps of preparation for marriage, or leave anything unresolved that might reemerge later to harm us — to harm him.

"...Maybe creating a big enough space within your consciousness to hold and accept someone's contradictions — someone's idiocies, even — is a kind of divine act. Perhaps transcendence can be found not only on solitary mountaintops or in monastic settings, but also at your own kitchen table, in the daily acceptance of your partner's most tiresome, irritating faults."


Anonymous said...

That last passage is outstanding. We always imagine that we can only find the divine in great acts, but we can also find the divine in the mundane, habitual activities of everyday life.

And I thought what Gilbert said about sequels is so true. It seems like sequels are always facing a stacked deck. It's so hard to execute a successful sequel. Excellent post.

Diane Davis said...

can't wait to read this book.

Rebecca Snavely said...

Des - if you haven't read it, I think you'd like Gilbert's views in Eat Pray Love. Also a great talk on Ted - I'll post that soon.

Di - I can't wait! I can't wait to learn from her research on the institution of marriage.