Cole Riann's Reviews > The Marrying Kind

The Marrying Kind by Ken  O'Neill
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's review
Jul 10, 12

it was amazing
bookshelves: armchair-reviews, netgalley, gay-fiction, favorites
Read from July 08 to 09, 2012

Review posted at The Armchair Reader.

This is a book that I want everyone I know to read!

I've been eyeing this book for a while, especially altering seeing some great reviews. I think I was most intrigued because this book is about a different side of gay marriage that I've read before. From the very first page, I was in love Steven's voice.

It all starts when Steven starts to notice Adam changing. They've been partners for about 7 years, and they generally seem like the perfect couple -- they have two children (well, cats), they watch old movies together, and they are similar and different in all the right ways -- essentially, they're quietly compatible. Steven's nature is to let Adam's changes slide until he starts to get freaked out that something really, no really serious is going on. Then, Adam decides to take action. He's tired of planning weddings for people when he can't have a "real" one of his own.

They decide to do what they can to spread their message. Steven uses his column with The Gay New York Times to spread their message and implore those who agree to boycott the wedding industry. Unfortunately, at about the same time as the column goes live, Adam's sister and Steven's brother who have been dating for a while now decide to get married. What do they do? The problems really start to escalate when people catch onto their message, driving a huge wedge between their families.

Told through Steven's publicly quiet demeanor but inner snarky voice, The Marrying Kind doesn't let up from the moment the story starts. Steven's narration switches consistently from present quick paced wit to memory, history, and cultural references, all offering some insight to the present. His voice is so funny that I laughed out loud throughout the entire book and was marking passages on my Kindle over and over.

The activism in this novel might be the spark, the catalyst that sets everything in motion and the undercurrent that keeps it moving forward. It also holds a huge message for readers. That message is achieved, though, through the shifting familial ties and family dysfunction that laces them all together. It's a bit like looking at two sides of a coin -- when the shit hits the fan, everyone is facing everyone else's ugly sides. It's the way that families are, and I really have to give this author props, especially for such a resounding job in his first novel. I always admire authors who can truly juggle a large cast, without dropping anyone and continually interlacing their actions and emotions throughout the group. This author does that really well here, usually offering Steven as the observer, quietly narrating (with his own hilarious commentary) as it all happens. The fact that the story never loses sight of the fact that they're a family, a truly mashed up American family, takes the story from admirable to heartwarming.

There is really a lot to recommend about this romantic comedy. New York City is almost a second character and I love when authors really get that right. The voice of Steven is pivotal to the story. Despite bringing all the charm and quirky insight to the story, the events could have turned the tone a bit depressing in another character's point of view. Instead, Steven is constantly avoiding the real issues with anything he can think of until he truly has to face them. The secondary characters really sparkle, especially in ensemble settings.

I really think this is a book that people will love and I hope that more people hear about it. I know I'll be doing my best to recommend it to everyone I know!

I love Ken O'Neill's review of his book!
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Reading Progress

6.0% "Just finished Ch. 1 and already addicted :)" 7 comments

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