The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family (Review)

Book cover for "The Commitment" by Dan Savage.Title: The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family

Author: Dan Savage

Narrator: Paul Michael Garcia

Publication Year: 2006

Pages: 304 (audio length: 9 hours 49 minutes)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Source: Audiobook version purchased from

From the cover:

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.

The only writing of Dan Savage’s that I’d read before this book was a bit of his Savage Love column, though I’d obviously heard his name around a lot. He’s famous in certain circles for a lot of things, namely writing no-nonsense responses to reader questions (primarily about sex or relationship issues), and more recently for creating an anti-Rick Santorum website.

The Commitment is a long-form piece about his relationship with Terry, their adopted son DJ, and their decision whether or not to get married. It covers a lot of ground in the gay marriage debate, but also manages to humanize the question a bit. If you didn’t realize this already, not all queer couples want to get married. Dan and Terry are, from the beginning of the book, one of those couples. Throughout the duration of the time covered in this memoir, they explore different ways that they might show their commitment to each other instead.

I really liked the personal aspect of this book, as it went beyond Savage’s usual abrupt demeanour and really touched on the thinking and emotions behind the decision he and his partner were trying to make. While it’s obviously not meant to be a discussion of what all non-straight couples go through, it’s an interesting series of personal anecdotes about what some people go through. And for what it is, I think that The Commitment does a great job.


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