Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Marrying Kind - Ken O'Neill

This is the debut novel from Ken O'Neill and I for one can't wait for the next. With his mix of humor and realism it has a very autobiographical feel to it that can't help but draw you in and make you want more.

The Marrying Kind, Ken O'Neill, Bold Strokes Books
Adam More, a successful wedding planner, has been having nightmares featuring the Bush family and characters from Gone with the Wind. His partner, Steven Worth, a columnist with The Gay New York Times, is understandably concerned. However, everything comes to a comic point when Adam decides he can no longer promote marriage for heterosexuals until he can legally marry Steven, who, through his column, ignites a marriage boycott among the many gay florists, hairdressers, chefs, waiters, and musicians who keep the wedding industry humming.

What do you do when you have made a decision not to have anything to do with hetero weddings, and then your sister announces she is getting married? Not only is she getting married but she is marrying the brother of your life partner and has always been supportive to you? Do you go back on your convictions and attend this one wedding, or stand by them and possibly lose everything?

Adam is a successful wedding planner in the throes of the wedding season when a series of events finally pushes him too far. He has been in a committed relationship with Steven for over 6 years and not only doesn't the country or state he lives in recognize it, sometimes even his family doesn't. He is mad as Hell and he isn't going to take it anymore!

Steven writes a column for The Gay New York Times and he was quite the activist while in college but has become rather complacent since then. When he writes a column to support his partners ban on weddings and calls on all others in the GLBT community to do the same he has no idea of the chain of events it's going to set off.

The duo are the heroes of the gay community and are riding high until Adam's sister announces she is marrying Steven's brother. When they refuse to not only plan but even attend, step back because the family fireworks are about to begin!

I LOVED this story.

I felt like I was sitting in a room with Mr. O'Neill and listening to him tell me  the story of his family, and even though I have never met or spoken to him I feel very confident it was his voice I was hearing in my head.  His writing style is contemporary, relaxed, fun and informative. You walk away with a better understanding of how GLBT people feel about this issue without feeling preached at. It is very tongue in cheek in one paragraph and heart breakingly real in the next.

The story is told from Steven's POV and the flashbacks through-out the story  really give you a sense of who the characters are and where they came from. When Steven talks about his crazy Romanian mom you can't help but fall in love with her and totally sympathize with his embarrassment at the same time. There is a strong secondary cast and quite a few memorable characters but the foundation of the story is Adam and Steven's relationship and the changes they go through while trying to stand up for something that is so important to them.

So if you are looking for that book that is hysterically funny, heart-wrenchingly poignant and absolutely about love and relationships then The Marrying Kind is for you!

RATING: 5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries.  This book was given to us by Netgalley. Many thanks.

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