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The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family Audio CD – Audiobook, July 1, 2011
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''As funny as David Sedaris' essay collections, but bawdier and more thought-provoking, this timely book shows that being pro-family doesn't have to mean being anti-gay.'' --Publishers 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 This American Life
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In my opinion, "The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family" should be required reading for anyone, on either "side", who wants to debate the right of same-sex couples to wed. It is an intelligent, realistic and often hillarious first-person account of the author's own experience in reconciling the concept of gay marriage with his own successful relationship with Terry, his partner of ten years, with whom he has adopted a son, "D.J." now six years old. While the author shares the minority opinion that gay couples should be allowed to marry, and supports the limited laws that permit this in Massachusetts, Canada and many foreign countries, he's not quite sure he and Terry would decide to wed. Between his own concerns that it might "jinx" the successful relationship he already has, his partner sees it as gay men "posing" as straights, and his son, a budding "metal head" who, while he loves his "two dads" very much ... and would definitely partake of the cake after the ceremony ... thinks the idea of two men saying "I Do" and kissing is just too "Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww" for his taste.
Enter the Savage family from the south side of Chicago, including Dan's divorced parents (father is a conservative Republican, mother is a liberal who pushes the couple to marry), and his three siblings (straight, but two of the three are "shacking up" without the formality of marriage.) Mix in extensive research on the subject for Dan's column, including details of recent right-wing antigay legislation, as well as viewing the Bravo series on "Gay Weddings" which isn't exactly comforting to someone thinking of having one, and Dan and Terry conclude it might be a better idea to just get matching tatoos, certifying they "belong" to each other. But that didn't work out real well for Angelina Jolie, did it?
Clever and witty, informative and surprisingly fair to all points of view on this sensitive topic, Savage's book is persuasive without being preachy or condescending. The book builds up to the couple's ten year anniversary party, which would be an ideal time for them to marry, if they were so inclined (and which Dan's mother is strongly lobbying in favor of.) The "will they or won't they" makes the latter half of the book a delightful page-turner, with clever touches that make the book especially memorable.
Highly recommended. Also a perfect gift for anyone you feel needs an education on the subject.
Savage is a damn good writer -- ironic, witty, smart, funny, tender, acerbic and eerily moralistic for a man living with another man and writing about sex for a living. Oh well, it's the contradictions that give him depth.
He makes much of the fact that, of his siblings, he's the most traditional. His brothers and sister chide him that, in his family, he's the most prudish among them. And he makes fun of himself because, in his own family of boyfriend and son, he's the stereotypically gay one who cries at weddings and light romantic comedies. What a sap.
Much of the book of course is a meditation on marriage -- a rather recent (12th Century) invention of the Church designed to bind parishioners to their parish -- and why being denied that silly piece of paper makes it seem so much more seductive.
Savage takes predictable jabs at the illogic of so-called "Defense of Marriage" legislation... at adoption forms with spaces for "mother" and for "father"... and at the current administration for packaging their Calvinistic fear of hedonism as a "family value." But he also writes clearly and concisely about the nature of love, the dignity of commitment and the importance of having defensible values in this crazy world.
In the end when you're writing a memoir (as Savage has done 3 times now) it's important to come off as "likable" because otherwise nobody is going to give a poop what you think or feel. To Savage's credit, I have long considered him one of my closest friends even though we've never formally met.
Top international reviews
Along the way they adopted and raised a son and then fought for and helped win the right to marry.
great story told with wit and humor.