Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Book review: The Commitment

I just read The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family by Dan Savage. I was going to write a short review, but I like the blurb on by Publisher's Weekly better than what I was planning to write:

The author of the internationally syndicated column "Savage Love" brings much-needed humor, and a reality check, to the bitter gay-marriage debate with this polemical memoir. As Savage (Skipping Towards Gomorrah) and his boyfriend, Terry, neared their 10th anniversary, Savage's mother put on the pressure for them to get married. But, Savage notes, there were several other points to consider before deciding to tie the knot: among them, the fact that marriage doesn't provide legal protection in Washington State; Terry prefers tattoos as a sign of commitment; and their six-year-old son declared that only men and women can get married. Furthermore, Savage himself worried that the relationship would be jinxed by anything more permanent than a big anniversary bash, though the one they plan quickly assumes the proportions and price of a wedding reception. While documenting the couple's wobble toward a decision, Savage skewers ideologues, both pro– and anti–gay marriage, with his radical pragmatism. Disproving Tolstoy's dictum that "happy families are all alike," he takes a sharp-eyed, compassionate look at matrimony as it is actually practiced by friends, his raucously affectionate family and even medieval Christians. When he explains to his son what marriage is really about, you want to stand up and cheer, and the surprise ending is both hilarious and a tear-jerker. As funny as David Sedaris's essay collections, but bawdier and more thought-provoking, this timely book shows that being pro-family doesn't have to mean being anti-gay.

That write-up is right on target, in my view. And the book is funny. It's the kind of book you end up reading in a single sitting, even though you don't mean to.

Also of interest is Savage's earlier memoir called The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant about the couple's adoption of their son.

It's not too late to think about those last minute stocking stuffers!


C. L. Hanson said...

Wow, I should read that. I love his column, and I loved his book "The Kid."

Scot said...

He reads a section from it in This American life, A Little Bit of Knowledge, Episode 293, Act 2 (18 minutes into it; you’ll have to wait through it, but it’s worth it and Act 1 ain't bad either).

You can listen to it online there.

It a wonderful piece; chokes me up every time.

Chris said...

I read this a couple years ago. Great book.