Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Book Review: The Commitment by Dan Savage
Author: Dan Savage
Enjoyment Rating: ****
This book would be rated: R for language and frank sex talk (this is Dan Savage, after all)
Dan and his boyfriend Terry have been together for ten years. They have a mortgage and a dog and a six-year-old son and a division of labor that both works for them and looks, to many couples, to be straight out of the 1950s. They aren't married, because it's 2004, and the only state in which gay couples can be married is Massachusetts, but they can't seem to escape everyone else's opinions on why they should be married. So for about six months, from that summer until their ten-year anniversary party the following winter, Dan and Terry (and their son DJ, who doesn't want to have to watch his dads get married) try to decide if they should make their union official (at least in the eyes of Canada or Massachusetts, since they are still disallowed any legal rights in their home state of Washington), while musing on the nature of marriage in general.
Savage is an engaging writer, and he does a great job creating and shaping the characters of his family members. I liked the book best when he was telling stories and least when he delved into historical information about the nature of marriage or waxed philosophical. There were times when I wanted to shake him and say "just decide already!" but all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this read. While I think it might be a good read for someone who wants more personal exposure to a gay couple or insight into gay marriage, most of the book makes Dan and Terry's partnership seem completely pedestrian, but there is a chapter or two that might raise some eyebrows.