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In a time when much of the country sees red whenever the subject of gay marriage comes up, Dan Savage-outspoken author of the column "Savage Love"- makes it personal. Dan Savage's mother wants him to get married. His boyfriend, Terry, says "no thanks" because he doesn't want to act like a straight person. Their six-year-old son DJ says his two dads aren't "allowed" to get In a time when much of the country sees red whenever the subject of gay marriage comes up, Dan Savage-outspoken author of the column "Savage Love"- makes it personal. Dan Savage's mother wants him to get married. His boyfriend, Terry, says "no thanks" because he doesn't want to act like a straight person. Their six-year-old son DJ says his two dads aren't "allowed" to get married, but that he'd like to come to the reception and eat cake. Throw into the mix Dan's straight siblings, whose varied choices form a microcosm of how Americans are approaching marriage these days, and you get a rollicking family memoir that will have everyone-gay or straight, right or left, single or married-howling with laughter and rethinking their notions of marriage and all it entails. BACKCOVER: "Hilarious, heartfelt." -Seattle Post-Intelligencer "As funny as David Sedaris's essay collections, but bawdier and more thought-provoking." -Publisher's Weekly (starred review) "Most of all, a book about creating and appreciating family." -Seattle Times "I think America would be a better place if everyone on every side of the gay marriage debate would read this book." -Ira Glass, host of the public radio show This American Life "The strongest argument here, which [Savage] brilliantly plays down, is that family means everything to these people: married, not married, blended, gay, straight, whatever." -The Washington Post


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In a time when much of the country sees red whenever the subject of gay marriage comes up, Dan Savage-outspoken author of the column "Savage Love"- makes it personal. Dan Savage's mother wants him to get married. His boyfriend, Terry, says "no thanks" because he doesn't want to act like a straight person. Their six-year-old son DJ says his two dads aren't "allowed" to get In a time when much of the country sees red whenever the subject of gay marriage comes up, Dan Savage-outspoken author of the column "Savage Love"- makes it personal. Dan Savage's mother wants him to get married. His boyfriend, Terry, says "no thanks" because he doesn't want to act like a straight person. Their six-year-old son DJ says his two dads aren't "allowed" to get married, but that he'd like to come to the reception and eat cake. Throw into the mix Dan's straight siblings, whose varied choices form a microcosm of how Americans are approaching marriage these days, and you get a rollicking family memoir that will have everyone-gay or straight, right or left, single or married-howling with laughter and rethinking their notions of marriage and all it entails. BACKCOVER: "Hilarious, heartfelt." -Seattle Post-Intelligencer "As funny as David Sedaris's essay collections, but bawdier and more thought-provoking." -Publisher's Weekly (starred review) "Most of all, a book about creating and appreciating family." -Seattle Times "I think America would be a better place if everyone on every side of the gay marriage debate would read this book." -Ira Glass, host of the public radio show This American Life "The strongest argument here, which [Savage] brilliantly plays down, is that family means everything to these people: married, not married, blended, gay, straight, whatever." -The Washington Post

30 review for The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    I am getting married in a little over a month. I am fortunately able to do this, because I am a heterosexual. If I was not, my attempt to enter into a legally-binding, stable relationship with my significant other would apparently rock the very foundations of the institution, and possibly turn a bunch of small, innocent children into drag queens, like some kind of ray gun. Dan Savage, famous syndicated sexual advice columnist (and now über-famous homosexual) either is or is not married to his lon I am getting married in a little over a month. I am fortunately able to do this, because I am a heterosexual. If I was not, my attempt to enter into a legally-binding, stable relationship with my significant other would apparently rock the very foundations of the institution, and possibly turn a bunch of small, innocent children into drag queens, like some kind of ray gun. Dan Savage, famous syndicated sexual advice columnist (and now über-famous homosexual) either is or is not married to his long-time partner Terry. It depends on who you ask. If you ask Dan and Terry, they are married, because they looked into each other's eyes and made a commitment, for better or for worse. If you ask most state governments, they are not, because gay marriage doesn't exist. The federal government agrees. It's all right there in the title: The Commitment is about Dan's struggle with what marriage means to him. Why should he want to be married when marriage won't have him? Marriage is an institution, a part of culture, and it is between a man and a woman. Kings and queens. Mommy and daddy. Princes and princesses. Simba and Nala. Even Dan and Terry's son agrees: he likes having two dads, but they shouldn't be married, because they are two men. Two men getting married is gay! Gays also shouldn't be married because marriage is a covenant before the Lord. Never mind if you are a Hindu or an atheist. I mean, apparently. Otherwise, why would so many Mormons and Southern Baptists care if two ladies from Jersey want to tie the knot? Surely they are mocking God, and that is just going to bring the hellfire and brimstone down upon us all. So, marriage. Marriage is sacred. Except marriage isn't sacred, or isn't just sacred. Marriage is, governmentally speaking, a legal arrangement. It is an agreement granting two people certain rights and protections: inheritance, medical visitation, power of attorney. Tax benefits. People don't just get married because God says they are supposed to if they want to do it; they also want to have legal standing, vis-à-vis their relationship with their spouse. Lots of people cohabitate these days instead of marrying, thinking they don't need " a piece of paper" from the state to legitimize their relationship. Which, ok, they don't. Until one of them is hospitalized, or dies, or writes a multi-million selling international blockbuster mystery series and then dies. Then, they are probably screwed. Just like all the gay couples are screwed, all the time. My deal is, if you think marriage is sacred, fine. If your religious beliefs tell you a marriage is between a man and a woman, fine. But marriage in the church and marriage as a legal relationship are different things. That's why you still need a document from the court to legitimize it. And I would ask you, whoever you are, to please keep your religious beliefs off to the side when it comes to dictating who can and can't visit a loved one in the hospital. I don't understand how gays marrying hurts regular marriage, which is cruising toward obsolescence just fine all on its own, with fewer people marrying later in life and extramarital affairs as popular as ever (a small joke: gay marriage exists; lots of gay men are married... to women). Of course, I also don't understand how saying the word "gay" in the classroom damages society either. This book is Dan Savage's struggle with wanting and not wanting to be married. Approaching a milestone anniversary, he and Terry are alternately planning a party and a wedding. They aren't quite sure which it is going to be until the last minute. The thing is, it's all theoretical anyway, because whatever they -- two consenting adults in a committed relationship -- ultimately decide, it doesn't matter. Because it won't be legal. I think that totally sucks. Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge Day 9: Book that makes you sick.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kasia

    Two gays in committed relationships don't want to get married because they don't want to act "straight". What follows are laugh out loud adventures of those two homos as they navigate through life and parenthood while trying to avoid their large republican conservative families. And they have a gay dog whose original name was Pee-R! Two gays in committed relationships don't want to get married because they don't want to act "straight". What follows are laugh out loud adventures of those two homos as they navigate through life and parenthood while trying to avoid their large republican conservative families. And they have a gay dog whose original name was Pee-R!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

    Oh man this one was good too! In this book, Dan Savage devotes a lot more time to research on his subject than he did in The Kid, which was more more a personal narrative than this one. This one is still a memoir, telling the tale of the gay marriage issue in his relationship, but I loved how he actually brings in lots of quotes and references to other sources. Most of it is still ridiculously funny, but I found myself crying a lot reading this book! It's a great read! Oh man this one was good too! In this book, Dan Savage devotes a lot more time to research on his subject than he did in The Kid, which was more more a personal narrative than this one. This one is still a memoir, telling the tale of the gay marriage issue in his relationship, but I loved how he actually brings in lots of quotes and references to other sources. Most of it is still ridiculously funny, but I found myself crying a lot reading this book! It's a great read!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adrianne Mathiowetz

    If you, like me, are wondering what the heck the deal is with marriage and "traditional values" and staying together forever and how politics, love and law intertwine: well then, this book is probably for you. Part memoir, part politics, Dan Savage is his usual fun and hilarious self in this book. He also makes some great, occasionally cutting points, especially in his "Borrowed" and "Blue" chapters. Shit! I stole 'The Gay Lifestyle' for my straight self! Think about the way many straight people If you, like me, are wondering what the heck the deal is with marriage and "traditional values" and staying together forever and how politics, love and law intertwine: well then, this book is probably for you. Part memoir, part politics, Dan Savage is his usual fun and hilarious self in this book. He also makes some great, occasionally cutting points, especially in his "Borrowed" and "Blue" chapters. Shit! I stole 'The Gay Lifestyle' for my straight self! Think about the way many straight people live today. After college, straight men and women move to the big city. Their first orders of business are landing good jobs and finding cool apartments. Then the hunt for sex begins. Most young straights aren't interested in anything serious, so they avoid dating and look for 'friends with benefits,' or they just 'hook up' [...] When they're not having sex, they're going to gyms, drinking, and dancing. And since they don't have kids, these young, hip, urban straight people have lots of disposable income to spend on art, travel, clothes, restaurants, booze and other recreational drugs. And do you know what all of that hooking up, drinking and partying used to be called? 'The Gay Lifestyle.' [...] Straight people all over the United States are living the Gay Lifestyle, circa 1978. The only difference is that social conservatives don't condemn straights for being hedonists or attempt to legislate against the straight version of the Gay Lifestyle. (Oh, and PS: gays, you can't raise chitlins or commit to one another or share health benefits or get power of attorney or whatever, unless you're in a few select states. But the rest of us will totally dance in your clubs.) These arguments were well-written and developed, but I do have one beef: for a book that spends the majority of its text talking about how ridiculous and jinxy marriage is for *anyone*, I felt a little jolted when its author suddenly decides to get married in the end. (And with no legal benefits unless laws change in Washington, since the marriage occurred in Canada.) Dan Savage! Please tell me why you got married! I want to believe in marriage, I really do! Your book was bumming me out a little bit. You spent so much time convincing me that monogamy was unnatural and unrealistic, that vows were a surefire way to damn an otherwise content relationship, that our definitions of "successful marriage" were screwy and based not upon happiness but someone's death. Dear Lord you're right! But wait! Now I'm standing in the middle of a freeway, and cars are whizzing by on both sides and I'm all "whoa what the hell, where do I go from here my paradigms have been (not really overthrown so much as) stabbed with forks and chucked in the river, and I'm somewhat perplexed and soggy and what about fairy tales and stuff I kind of like those" and you're all "WE DIDN'T GET MARRIED THE END" and I'm all "well of course you didn't, that kind of commitment is for fools" and then ten pages later (spoiler alert) you're all "HAHAHA J/K, WE DID." That was an amusing trick and all, but seriously. Why did you get married, Dan Savage? That deserves more than a chapter in a book called The Commitment.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I remember really liking this when the rest of book club was a little uneven about it, and I somehow never put my favorite quotes in Goodreads (what?!) and just came across my list of them, so here they are! Lots of relationship food for thought. (Also, I couldn't help smiling at the descriptions of the Saugatuck, MI community, because I stayed there once.) "...we're both contentedly solitary people. Which is part of what makes us so good together: We know when and how to leave each other alone." I remember really liking this when the rest of book club was a little uneven about it, and I somehow never put my favorite quotes in Goodreads (what?!) and just came across my list of them, so here they are! Lots of relationship food for thought. (Also, I couldn't help smiling at the descriptions of the Saugatuck, MI community, because I stayed there once.) "...we're both contentedly solitary people. Which is part of what makes us so good together: We know when and how to leave each other alone." "When your life is going along nicely, when things are looking good, the correct posture to assume is one of gratitude, absent of any hint that you expect your good fortune to last. It's kind of a defensive crouch." "I call it Permanent Romance, like Trotsky's idea of Permanent Revolution. We don't take each other for granted, nothing is carved-in-stone, sworn-in-court routine, and that makes our time together fresh and fun, in bed and out." "[My parents] were happy together for two decades, they raised four children together, and then, when their children were all practically adults, they parted. That doesn't look like a marriage that failed to me. It looks more like a marriage that reached its expiration date, something more marriages do as our life expectancies increase." "Being single visits a kind of constant, low-intensity misery on a person -- at least a person who doesn't want to be single. Coming home to an empty house, not having anyone to confide in, facing illnesses on your own -- being alone hurts, but people can get used to it. But being in a long-term relationship doesn't spare you from all that day-to-day pain. It just banks it. Every day I'm with Terry, every day I'm not alone, a little misery gets put into a savings account, where interest is compounded hourly. The day Terry dies, all the pain I avoided when I was with him will be paid out all at once; I will suffer a windfall of misery. I imagine the pain would feel literally like being torn in two. Maybe that's what people mean when they talk about 'one flesh'?" "A religious straight couple can have a big church wedding and kids and the wife can submit to the husband and they can stay married until death parts them -- provided that's what they both want when they marry, and that's what both of them continue to want throughout the marriage. Or a couple of straight secular humanists can get married in a tank full of dolphins and never have kids and treat each other as equals and split up if they decide their marriage isn't working out -- again, if that's what they both want. ...The problem for opponents of gay marriage isn't that gay people are trying to redefine marriage in some new, scary way, but that straight people have redefined marriage to a point that it no longer makes any logical sense to exclude same-sex couples." "One of the most underrated virtues -- one I'd like to see virtuecrats promote to parents everywhere, and a virtue many homos have a problem with -- is constancy. Once you're a parent, you simply have to stop reinventing yourself while your children are young." "When the demands and pressures of monogamy threaten the survival of a relationship, it's better to toss the baggage of monogamy overboard than to sacrifice the ship of the relationship itself. But I'm a conservative; what do I know?" "When people have to pretend that they find no one else attractive, they have to suppress a large part of their sex drive, and that means suppressing (unconsciously, sure, but definitely) their sexual feelings about their partner." "...our modern concept of love has at its foundation not only the expectation of monogamy, but the idea that where there's love, monogamy should be easy and joyful. This is, in a word, batshitcrazy." "The American public's track record on civil rights issues is so uniformly terrible that anything a majority of Americans oppose automatically deserves the benefit of the doubt." p. 177 - prime minister of Canada's speech "'I don't believe in that kind of stuff [bad luck]. I believe in personal responsibility. Nothing can f**k up you guys but you guys. It's a beautiful space. Thousands of people have gotten married here, and not all of them have gotten divorced. Don't be such a p***y.'" p. 212 - building to big event - nice narrative flow "So long as the person who asks the question doesn't come across as crazy or self-destructive, an advice columnist's job is usually to divine what it is the reader wants to do and advise him or her to do just that. A great deal of the mail advice columnists get is from people seeking permission to do whatever it is they want to do or know they must, all of which could be filed under 'Mother, May I?'" "...I was savoring two delicious, intoxicating sensations only parents ever experience: The scent and weight of our children. It wasn't until D.J. came along that I fully understood why parents with grown children ache for grandchildren. Once your children are grown, having grandchildren is the only way to experience those twin sensations again; the rich, humid scent of your child, the way your child's hand feels resting in your own, the trusting, contented weight of your child sitting on your lap while you read or watch TV." "For children, promises are a deadly serious business because it's all they really have. They don't own anything, they don't control anything. The promises their parents make them are all they've got. And while no parent can keep every promise he makes -- no child can either -- your credibility as a parent rests on a promises-kept-to-promises-broken ranking that your child carries around in his head. Keep more than you break, and you're a parent in good standing. Break more than you keep and you're in trouble."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    Let's talk about tone for a minute: All stories written with an agenda, whether you agree with the agenda or not, tend to sound forced and opinionated and in-your-face. That would probably be my main criticism of this book. When you've had to spend your whole life defending your choices to others, you come off sounding, um...defensive. And maybe a bit rude. I don't think that wins you any friends in the other camp, or helps you to change people's minds about a emotionally-charged topic. Now, let Let's talk about tone for a minute: All stories written with an agenda, whether you agree with the agenda or not, tend to sound forced and opinionated and in-your-face. That would probably be my main criticism of this book. When you've had to spend your whole life defending your choices to others, you come off sounding, um...defensive. And maybe a bit rude. I don't think that wins you any friends in the other camp, or helps you to change people's minds about a emotionally-charged topic. Now, let's talk about content: This book did what all good books do. It made me think. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have some pretty strong views of marriage (in the way it relates to me and my hopes and dreams.) I also believe that everyone else has strong views of marriage, and that everyone else must decide what is right for them, what works for them and how it relates to their hopes and dreams. In essence, this is the journey you take when reading this book. Terry and Dan are trying to decide what marriage is to them, how it will define them and what they want to get out of it, if anything. Everyone who considers marriage must do the same. What makes me sad is that their journey is mired by and complicated by politics and religion and everyone else's opinions about what they should do, what they can do, and what it means to all other marriages in the world. The Big Picture The three things that struck me most: 1. All successful marriages end in death. If one or the other of you didn't die, you have failed at marriage. This seems like the silliest thing in the world. 2. Most marriages are defined by monogamy. I, too, fall prey to this assumption. The author made me seriously rethink this definition, even though if I ever chose to marry, this would be one way that I would define my marriage. 3. Canada sounds awesome. P.S. The small picture: This edition had typos galore. I mean, really, it was just sad. Favorite Quotes For children, promises are a deadly serious business because it's all they really have. They don't own anything, they don't control anything. The promises their parents make them are all they've got. And while no parent can keep every promise he makes - no child can either - your credibility as a parent rests on a promises-kept-to-promises-broken ranking that your child carries around in his head. Keep more than you break, and you're a parent in good standing. Break more than you keep and you're in trouble. She somehow manages to stay sunny and upbeat while expecting the worst and praying for the best. By 'myth' I don't mean 'lie,' I mean a story a culture uses to explain itself to itself. The Straight Lifestyle was only "straight" because gay people weren't allowed to form lasting relationships, or to have families, things we weren't allowed to do because for centuries straight people insisted we were incapable of it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christiana

    Dan Savage reminds me of that guy at a party. You know, the guy who starts talking and seems pretty interesting. You heard about him from your friends and his life is atypical. You wouldn't mind hearing a little about it. But then he opens his mouth and you realize how self-congratulatory he is and that (Dan hopes) you're just there to marvel at him. Suddenly, you can't get away. You search over his shoulder while he drones on, looking for an escape method, but no one comes. He doesn't even noti Dan Savage reminds me of that guy at a party. You know, the guy who starts talking and seems pretty interesting. You heard about him from your friends and his life is atypical. You wouldn't mind hearing a little about it. But then he opens his mouth and you realize how self-congratulatory he is and that (Dan hopes) you're just there to marvel at him. Suddenly, you can't get away. You search over his shoulder while he drones on, looking for an escape method, but no one comes. He doesn't even notice your lack of interest and negative body language, he just plows on. He manages to alienate you (even though you agree with a lot of his core beliefs!) by picking on EVERYONE, even people who agree with him. And he manages to say it three different ways. Because of this, I am unsure who Savage wrote this book for. There's a point where Dan Savage mocks Catholics, saying that they go to church service and then go right on using contraceptives. He then goes on to say (in a different part of the book) Catholics are a big part of the problems affecting homosexuals because everyone follows the rules to the t. No, Dan, you can't have it both ways. And in the process, no one wants to understand your thought process anymore after you refuse to understand other people's points of views and systems. Listen, I think Dan Savage is great, even if it doesn't sound like it. I love the It Gets Better Project and that it exists. I think his life sounds pretty great. I'm glad he's around. I just don't ever want to read his books (especially not on audio, it was like the man kept yelling at me in the car) ever again.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I only read a few chapters of this before I put it down. I went into it knowing I had mixed feelings about Savage, and this book only confirmed them. Ive laughed and applauded plenty of his articles but, somewhat expectedly, it didn't take long after starting this book before I just got sick of reading his negativity, his jabs at overweight people, his derogatory use of the word "pussy" etc. I'm sure he would just mock me for being overly sensitive and PC but his book just wasn't a world I wante I only read a few chapters of this before I put it down. I went into it knowing I had mixed feelings about Savage, and this book only confirmed them. Ive laughed and applauded plenty of his articles but, somewhat expectedly, it didn't take long after starting this book before I just got sick of reading his negativity, his jabs at overweight people, his derogatory use of the word "pussy" etc. I'm sure he would just mock me for being overly sensitive and PC but his book just wasn't a world I wanted to spend any more time in.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    Read it in a day. It was so engrossing, filled with humor and it highlighted how much our idea of commitment has evolved and will continue to evolve. You really see the differences when comparing the straight ideal of marriage (perfected to the point of discomfort) and the gay ideal (testing the waters and adapting old traditions).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    DNF’ing this one. I like Dan Savage, but this is somehow very dull.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Very sweet, hilarious, and thought-provoking, and a nice reminder of how much it sucked to live through the gay marriage debates for the 2000s (which obviously continue on to this day, but god it was awful back then in its own way).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    The Commitment didn't change my mind about gay marriage. But then, it didn't have to—I was already in favor. I don't see where the state has any right to deny its formal recognition to the relationships of people like Dan Savage and Terry, his partner of ten years (at the time). Nor—speaking as a married guy in a relationship that's just about as heteronormative in structure as it could be—do I see how gay marriage could possibly be a threat to, or even affect, my own commitment. So Savage was p The Commitment didn't change my mind about gay marriage. But then, it didn't have to—I was already in favor. I don't see where the state has any right to deny its formal recognition to the relationships of people like Dan Savage and Terry, his partner of ten years (at the time). Nor—speaking as a married guy in a relationship that's just about as heteronormative in structure as it could be—do I see how gay marriage could possibly be a threat to, or even affect, my own commitment. So Savage was preaching to the converted here. But that in itself wasn't why I enjoyed reading this book so much, anyway. What makes this book so enjoyable is very simple—it's a good story: candid, heartwarming and vividly told. Savage's prose is fluid and competent, but straightforward—he is a journalist and advice-column writer, after all, and there are few if any literary flourishes here—but there are times when candor trumps style, I think, and this is one of 'em. Dan and Terry are closing in on their tenth anniversary of being together as a couple, already married in all but name. They have adopted a son whom they named D.J., and whom they've raised since just after his birth. As The Commitment opens, their family is facing increasing pressure from some very powerful forces (namely, Dan's mother Judy) to do something significant to mark that anniversary. So they start discussing making that tenth-anniversary party a wedding celebration—or as close to one as they're allowed to come, anyway, in mid-2000s Seattle. Getting married would have no legal force, after all; these are some dark days anyway, just after Bush's (still-baffling) re-election, and it's not at all clear whether gays are going to retain the rights they'd gained, much less continue to increase acceptance. Dan and Terry's symbolic gesture seems appropriate, but also seems likely to remain entirely symbolic—so their first discussions are about whether they should even bother. Why jinx a perfectly functional relationship over a futile gesture? Why not just get complementary tattoos, instead? I can empathize with that. My wife and I dealt with some of the same issues when we were deciding whether and when to get married, and we had the luxury of being in a more traditionally-sanctioned relationship (though we were still "living in sin," as the phrase goes). That's part of what makes Savage's memoir so readable, of course—he speaks of what I hesitate to call universals, given the wide variety of human experience, but certainly about commonalities. If you're paying any attention, you'll see yourself in some of these pages, whatever your orientation. Do they or don't they? I won't spoil the ending here... but in any case The Commitment, like all commitments, has its ups and downs, its dark moments and its joys... which are, of course, what make them worthwhile.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    A very entertaining autobiography. The story is was fun and I was engaged the whole time.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    For some reason, I thought this book would be heartwarming and funny. However, much of this book was like being forced to endure an opinionated and overbearing relative tell you the way it is for several hours. Dan Savage makes little effort to disguise his intense dislike for fat people, straight people, women, and even dogs throughout and listening to such a bitter narration does little to gain the support or interest of this reader. It got a little better towards the end, but not enough to re For some reason, I thought this book would be heartwarming and funny. However, much of this book was like being forced to endure an opinionated and overbearing relative tell you the way it is for several hours. Dan Savage makes little effort to disguise his intense dislike for fat people, straight people, women, and even dogs throughout and listening to such a bitter narration does little to gain the support or interest of this reader. It got a little better towards the end, but not enough to really make it enjoyable overall. At least Dan seems to know how narrow-minded he is. He is clearly not a graduate of the "flies with honey program." For the record, I support gay marriage legislation as does probably everyone that willingly reads this book. I used to love Dan Savage's Savage Love column back when I lived in a city with a weekly that ran it. I respect the "it gets better" movement. I was so curious as to what Terry looked like because of Dan's descriptions, I had to google him afterwards.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Manik Sukoco

    Dan Savage is by far at his best and funniest when he sticks to memoir, reporting on the squabbles and crises of his daily life. That's why this book is much better than the last one, "Skipping Towards Gomorrah," which tended to veer into ranting and contrivances, but not quite as good as "The Kid," which had a little more meat to its story. Here, the back-stories of his relatives and their marriages or lack of them are moderately interesting. There are a few anti-religious-right rants that go on Dan Savage is by far at his best and funniest when he sticks to memoir, reporting on the squabbles and crises of his daily life. That's why this book is much better than the last one, "Skipping Towards Gomorrah," which tended to veer into ranting and contrivances, but not quite as good as "The Kid," which had a little more meat to its story. Here, the back-stories of his relatives and their marriages or lack of them are moderately interesting. There are a few anti-religious-right rants that go on too long, but only a few. It's the conversations between Dan and his boyfriend and their son, in all their crankiness and irrationality, that make this book stand out. It really comes into its own in the last couple of chapters, which had me laughing out loud. It's great to read a book by someone who cares deeply about gay rights, yet can make fun of the part of himself that wants to get married in order to make people take his "Big Gay Love" seriously. He's confident enough to be honest, and that makes his book fresh and entertaining.

  16. 5 out of 5

    S

    I don't agree with all his statements (I am pro-monogamy and think that it is realistic-- also, I don't think his menage a trois(es?) count as cheating or violating monogamous principles), but this book makes me feel better about all the angst and drama I had about my own wedding to my boyfriend of 13 years. We had a similar on-the-down-low ceremony and a big official ceremony and party and I wish I had read this book way before I had gotten married because a lot of this speaks to me and would h I don't agree with all his statements (I am pro-monogamy and think that it is realistic-- also, I don't think his menage a trois(es?) count as cheating or violating monogamous principles), but this book makes me feel better about all the angst and drama I had about my own wedding to my boyfriend of 13 years. We had a similar on-the-down-low ceremony and a big official ceremony and party and I wish I had read this book way before I had gotten married because a lot of this speaks to me and would have made me feel better about all the struggles I went through emotionally over the past year as I planned our wedding. Thanks Dan Savage. Very funny and moving. I was literally laughing out loud at parts.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Az

    fun times! this was a reread for me (instead of struggling to write about executive power while blocking out hideous music next door), and i really enjoy this book. it changes setting often enough to keep it interesting, from the real-time to the self-speculative to family history to current events--but not so often that it's confusing. the kid is cute, the writing is sharp, the feelings are honest. not to mention the detail-orientated style of the discussion, it's got more than a few angles tha fun times! this was a reread for me (instead of struggling to write about executive power while blocking out hideous music next door), and i really enjoy this book. it changes setting often enough to keep it interesting, from the real-time to the self-speculative to family history to current events--but not so often that it's confusing. the kid is cute, the writing is sharp, the feelings are honest. not to mention the detail-orientated style of the discussion, it's got more than a few angles that haven't been brought up before. good stuff, good stuff.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kaje Harper

    I just reread this for the nth time. I love the author's voice, his sense of humor and his ability to make a point without preaching. This is one of those books I wish more straight people on the gay-marriage fence would read because they would get the point while laughing. If you haven't read it, go do that now. I just reread this for the nth time. I love the author's voice, his sense of humor and his ability to make a point without preaching. This is one of those books I wish more straight people on the gay-marriage fence would read because they would get the point while laughing. If you haven't read it, go do that now.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Butterfly

    Made me laugh and cry. Enjoyable and touching. Classic Dan Savage. The political arguments dragged just a tad sometimes, but the personal stories were highly entertaining. I'm glad this book is already so politically "outdated". Made me laugh and cry. Enjoyable and touching. Classic Dan Savage. The political arguments dragged just a tad sometimes, but the personal stories were highly entertaining. I'm glad this book is already so politically "outdated".

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Loved the first third when they are on vacation with extended family. My interest wandered too much half way through. My stack of books from the library is too large to keep reading something that isn't a page turner right now. Loved the first third when they are on vacation with extended family. My interest wandered too much half way through. My stack of books from the library is too large to keep reading something that isn't a page turner right now.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I've been listening to Dan Savage's podcast "Savage Love," where he regularly doles out thoughtful, relationship, sex, and life advice to thousands of people around the world, for years. In this forms of media, he crafts a persona that is perpetually empathetic but perpetually pragmatic and emotionally reserved. However, within the pages of The Commitment lie a much more personal account of Savage's own experience and relationship with his (now) husband, Terry, providing a rich framework and int I've been listening to Dan Savage's podcast "Savage Love," where he regularly doles out thoughtful, relationship, sex, and life advice to thousands of people around the world, for years. In this forms of media, he crafts a persona that is perpetually empathetic but perpetually pragmatic and emotionally reserved. However, within the pages of The Commitment lie a much more personal account of Savage's own experience and relationship with his (now) husband, Terry, providing a rich framework and intimate narrative behind the advice and arguments he makes in other spheres. It was especially meaningful to read The Commitment, which is a book about a gay man's thoughts on marriage that was written in a time in which gay marriage was explicitly illegal in much of the country, many years after its publication. Savage writes with a younger voice in this book, which means his wording can be less nuanced than his current parlance. However, I enjoyed this voice immensely, especially because it gave such weight to the topics he tackles. As a female who is in a heterosexual relationship, I am reviewing this book as an outsider, someone who read this book without it necessarily eliciting memories of my own romantic experience. However, Savage communicates his ideas and narrative so effectively on both an intellectual and emotional level, reading this book helps me become a more effective ally for the LGBTQI+ community. I recommend it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    GV

    Dan Savage could write a book about paint drying. And I would still read it from cover to cover.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jay DeMoir

    engaging and insightful

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Tibbels

    A friend of mine recommended this book to me, warning me that it's FILLED with the author saying "the 'f' word." She knows me well enough to know that doesn't bother me in the slightest--I think it was more a case of her wanting me to be proud of her for getting through all the swears! :) I absolutely loved this book. I really enjoy memoirs, and Dan Savage speaks my language (including the abundance of 'f' words!). I found it interesting to hear his take on why or why not same sex couples should A friend of mine recommended this book to me, warning me that it's FILLED with the author saying "the 'f' word." She knows me well enough to know that doesn't bother me in the slightest--I think it was more a case of her wanting me to be proud of her for getting through all the swears! :) I absolutely loved this book. I really enjoy memoirs, and Dan Savage speaks my language (including the abundance of 'f' words!). I found it interesting to hear his take on why or why not same sex couples should get married, why he and HIS partner, in particular, should or should not get married, and what his mother, his siblings, his & his partner's son, and everyone else in the world has to say on the topic! I think it's fair to say this book is meant to be read & enjoyed by those who are more liberal-minded, i.e. those who are supportive of our LGBTQA members of the community. However, I also feel that it would be a good read for those members of the conservative crowd who are maybe curious about same sex marriages or maybe who just need to have a little reassurance about why "breeders" (heterosexuals) should marry, as well. (Or, as the case may be, SHOULD NOT marry.) There's also a lot of talk about tattoos, with an emphasis on whether or not to get a loved one's name tattooed on your body. (Hint: not a good idea.) I truly enjoyed this book, and I'm going to really try to find the time to listen to Savage Love more frequently (Dan Savage's advice column, via podcast).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Every generation advances. A hundred-fifty years ago, Irish immigrants couldn't find jobs or housing in their new home of America. They were all but universally hated as they entered our country, but eventually that hate subsided--whether because they truly were being accepted as "Americans" or because those that hated them so virulently finally began dying off. Now, we don't even think about that once gaping ethnic chasm. It's what I hope will happen with all of the sub-sets of people we hate to Every generation advances. A hundred-fifty years ago, Irish immigrants couldn't find jobs or housing in their new home of America. They were all but universally hated as they entered our country, but eventually that hate subsided--whether because they truly were being accepted as "Americans" or because those that hated them so virulently finally began dying off. Now, we don't even think about that once gaping ethnic chasm. It's what I hope will happen with all of the sub-sets of people we hate today. We've got a real hard-on for hating on Muslims and Mexicans these days, but more than those even, we suuure hate the gays. And for the same reason we can't truly hate the Muslims or the Mexicans: religion. Mexicans are mostly Catholic and at least Muslims are an Abrahimicic religion that recognizes Jesus as a prophet, so we can't really reeeeally hate them completely, but the gays--boy oh boy, they couldn't be worse for the world. The Bible calls them out in particular as "having their blood upon them." Sure, in that same section (the eighteenth chapter of Leviticus) it also says you can't shave your sideburns or eat cheeseburgers, but THE GAYS!! They're definitely going to Hell, just for being themselves. And now they want to get MARRIED?? That's how my dad feels, at least. And I'd love to encourage him to read Dan Savage's The Commitment, the famed sex advice columnist's most recent book, all about his partner of ten years and their debate of whether or not to get married. Dan's mother is all but demanding it, Terry would rather just get tattoos, Dan is waffling back and forth, unsure of what to do, especially because his son D.J. thinks it's wrong. Oh, I didn't mention that he and Terry have a son? Oh, and they're totally turning him gay as a maypole too, right Pat Buchanan? The Commitment is a ridiculously heartfelt read, with Savage's typical acerbic humor and brilliant storytelling. But more than that, the book could be a rallying point. He's not gung-ho on the whole marriage thing, just like plenty of straight people aren't. It's not a black and white thing to him, and he expresses his issues with the entire institution of marriage, and moreover, gay marriage. This is a level-headed approach to the matter at hand, and it could be used well as a base, somewhere for supporters of gay marriage to begin. It got me riled up to the point that I spent half this review just ranting about how unfairly the gay community is being treated as a whole--and it also had my eyes watering more times than I can count. It's moving and hilarious and absolutely an essential read for anyone who cares about love, no matter how they define it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Even though The Commitment contains the one thing that’s long bothered me about Dan Savage’s writing (his scathing perspective on obesity), the other autobiographical anecdotes and political and cultural observations included within were so funny, earnest, and astute that I truly enjoyed this read. Having heard many excerpts on This American Life over the years (which I highly recommend listening to as Savage’s readings are wonderfully heartfelt), it was truly a pleasure to glean the full pictur Even though The Commitment contains the one thing that’s long bothered me about Dan Savage’s writing (his scathing perspective on obesity), the other autobiographical anecdotes and political and cultural observations included within were so funny, earnest, and astute that I truly enjoyed this read. Having heard many excerpts on This American Life over the years (which I highly recommend listening to as Savage’s readings are wonderfully heartfelt), it was truly a pleasure to glean the full picture from the unabridged text.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Dan and Terry have been a gay couple for ten years, they have a son together, and they plan to stay together forever, so why wouldn't they want to get married? Terry doesn't want to act like straight people and Dan is rebelling against his mother's oft expressed desires. They compromise on getting matching "Property of" tattoos and begin planning a 10th anniversary party that soon begins to feel suspiciously like a wedding reception. As the two of the struggle through their feelings about the in Dan and Terry have been a gay couple for ten years, they have a son together, and they plan to stay together forever, so why wouldn't they want to get married? Terry doesn't want to act like straight people and Dan is rebelling against his mother's oft expressed desires. They compromise on getting matching "Property of" tattoos and begin planning a 10th anniversary party that soon begins to feel suspiciously like a wedding reception. As the two of the struggle through their feelings about the institution of marriage and why or why not they might want to partake a slightly madcap adventure ensues. The Commitment is billed as a hilarious romp through the world of gay marriage. Instead it is mostly an angry rant about the restrictions and prejudices faced by homosexuals today. While I agree with all his points it felt a bit like having someone endlessly trying to convince me of something I already agree with. There were funny parts, many provided by their 6 yr old son DJ, but they just didn't balance out all the bitterness for me. I did enjoy the discussions he had with his siblings about their life choices, they all seem like very interesting and thoughtful people. I listened to The Commitment on audio, narrated by Paul Michael Garcia. He had a nice way of emphasizing the dry, sarcastic humor that occasionally comes through.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    I *adore* Dan Savage. and I enjoyed this book too, but I was very disappointed to find that the audiobook narration is not done by Dan himself. He brings so much character to his narrations and I'm so used to his voice and mannerisms that it was jarring to hear such a personal story in someone else's voice. Nor do I think the entertainment value was quite as high as The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant. Giving it a four anyways because I'm a crazy fan, but I I *adore* Dan Savage. and I enjoyed this book too, but I was very disappointed to find that the audiobook narration is not done by Dan himself. He brings so much character to his narrations and I'm so used to his voice and mannerisms that it was jarring to hear such a personal story in someone else's voice. Nor do I think the entertainment value was quite as high as The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant. Giving it a four anyways because I'm a crazy fan, but I'd start with The Kid and skip to American Savage for audiobooks if you're wanting a dose of Dan Savage. American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics in particular is , while at times over the top, so insightful and thoughtful on several topics that it nearly brings tears to my eyes. Healthcare is one. I wish things were different in the US. Dan Savage for president!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    I read this book after reading a review on one of my favorite blogs, A Practical Wedding (yes, I still read it even though I'm now married; it's a great, down to earth source about what it means to be married without giving into WIC- wedding industrial complex). Dan Savage, writer and sex advice columnist, has been with his boyfriend for ten years and they have a son together. Dan and his boyfriend can't legally get married because they are two men. Dan explores what it means to be married. Do yo I read this book after reading a review on one of my favorite blogs, A Practical Wedding (yes, I still read it even though I'm now married; it's a great, down to earth source about what it means to be married without giving into WIC- wedding industrial complex). Dan Savage, writer and sex advice columnist, has been with his boyfriend for ten years and they have a son together. Dan and his boyfriend can't legally get married because they are two men. Dan explores what it means to be married. Do you really need an over the top proclamation of your love? Is it necessary to fulfill that Disney princess fantasy? What happens if you can't even be legally married? What does it mean to make a commitment? I wish I would have read this book before my own wedding as it would have helped to quell some of those nerves I was feeling at the time but as a newlywed, I appreciated this book all the same. There is a lot of truth to this book. I think it would be good for anyone thinking about marriage, about to get married, married, or even just thinking that someday they might want to get into a serious relationship.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caty Waterfield

    SUCH a fun read! I love Dan, I listen to his podcast every week. I love his writing style here, and how he masterfully switches between the matter at hand and flashbacks or family stories. I'm a married hetero woman, and this book spoke to me on so many levels. Probably my favorite thing from this book was when Dan was telling DJ how he would fall in love one day; when probed as to whether or not he would be gay, Dan said, "your heart will let you know," which is, of course, one of the sweetest SUCH a fun read! I love Dan, I listen to his podcast every week. I love his writing style here, and how he masterfully switches between the matter at hand and flashbacks or family stories. I'm a married hetero woman, and this book spoke to me on so many levels. Probably my favorite thing from this book was when Dan was telling DJ how he would fall in love one day; when probed as to whether or not he would be gay, Dan said, "your heart will let you know," which is, of course, one of the sweetest things ever written ever. ♥

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