APW Book Club Questions: Dan Savage’s The Commitment

Ladies! And a few gentleman!

It’s that time. It’s first ever APW book-club meetup time, in 32 cities around the world, tomorrow (crazy, right?) So, with your help, I’ve compiled a list of starter questions for discussing Dan Savage’s The Commitment. Use them as ice breakers, don’t use them at all, use them for the whole party, use the book as a coaster and just drink. Do what you will. But I’m exceedingly excited to think about all the funny and smart women that you’ve always been told don’t exist, meeting up ALL OVER THE WORLD, discussing marriage equality tomorrow. Efffff. Awesome.

A few notes on the meetup. I’d love if you sent me run downs of how things went, but please put “APW Book-club meetup your city” in the title, and please try to send just one(ish) email per city (I’m just one person, after all!) If you take pictures, upload them to the brand new APW flickr group, with a note as to what city the picture was taken in. I will write up the meet-ups and start an online discussion of the book next week.

So, blah-blah-blah. Now, on to what you really want. The book club questions (linked to topical posts, for cross-reference and research purposes, of course). It will be just like your best seminar class in college, but with a lot more wine. I hope. What can I say? I’m ambitious.

  1. Savage puts out a bunch of different arguments for and against getting married. Which did you identify with most? Was this something that factored into your decision to get married?
  2. If you could approach marriage with a blank slate, ie, taking even monogamy and till-death-do-us-part out of the picture, what definition would you create? Why?
  3. Savage addresses fidelity/monogamy, and the need for couples to be up front with each other about it. Is a marriage defined by monogamy? Should it be?
  4. The book posits that successful marriages that sometimes have expiration dates. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  5. What does the use of the terms husband and/or wife indicate? Is it good? Bad? Does it matter?
  6. In the book, Savage grapples with how modern US society’s definition of marriage (gender prescriptive, restrictive, done by straight people) influences his desire, or rather his lack of desire, to be married. How does your personal view of marriage relate to what you see as society’s view of marriage? How does this affect the choices you make about your partnership?
  7. To what extent does the way that your government constructs marriage make you think differently about getting married and being married? (Including but by no means limited to the issue of gay marriage.)
  8. If the book came with an *exactly!* button, which passage would you choose?
  9. Would you kill your partner if they insisted you take a cross country road trip with a small child or a dog?

Oh, and have f*cking FUN!


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  • Ohhhhhhhh I’m so EXCITED! :) Wahoo! :)

    Also – this cracked me up: “or use the book as a coaster and just drink.” ha! :)

  • Not-so-patiently waiting for the online discussion next week (and slightly regretful that I’m not making the London meet-up).

    LOVED the book though. And can’t wait for the next one. Cause this *is* going to be a regular thing, right? Right.

    • Erica

      I second that. This one arrived for me in the midst of moving accross the country for grad school, so I can’t make the meet up this time, but I would LOVE to participate in round two…

    • Trisha

      Me as well. Today is the only day I get to spend with my husband between business trips, so a four hour drive (each way) has now become impractical. I’ll be having a drink and thinking of you ladies this afternoon though.

  • Mallory

    Hope the Dallas group has fun! Wish I could join you but its the first home game of the year at the university where I work. Hopefully I can join at the next meet up!

    • Alyssa

      Mallory, are you by chance a Mustang? Because I work there too!

      • Mallory

        Nope I’m an Eagle(UNT-Denton), haha! I’m a bit farther north than you. I hope the next meet up comes soon cause I’d love to participate.

  • Caroline

    I am drinking vicariously with everyone from Dublin. Enjoy everyone!

  • ddayporter

    flickr pool = best idea ever. can’t wait to see everyone’s pics!

  • Meg

    The Seattle meet up was great! What’s the next book?

    • sarah

      I’ll second that! It was such a treat to meet Seattle APW brethren in the flesh! Can’t wait till next time.

  • I had SO much fun in DC!! A few of the ladies talked about Liz Gilbert’s “Committed” but we’ll probably beat you to the hang-out punch…

    • meg

      That’s next. I’m thinking late October, early Nov.

  • Michelle

    The DC Meetup was a success and a half! I had an AWESOME time.

    Excited about reading the Liz Gilbert book next – maybe “One Perfect Day” by Rebecca Mead could be an option for the next book after that?

    • Rizubunny

      One Perfect Day was awesome…I would love to talk about that! And Committed too…I just finished it and would totally read it again.

  • Christa

    Is Committed in paperback yet? Anyone know?

    • Eliza

      We have it in paperback in Australia, Christa, so I’d imagine it will be in the US, too. Anyone?

    • Meredith

      I bought this book about a month ago and it was not in paperback yet, at least not on Amazon (and really, if they don’t have it, it probably doesn’t exist). But, the hard cover edition is $15, so not too bad. And you can buy it through the link on APW on the books and blogs page.

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