“The Marrying Kind” by Ken O’Neill— A Sensitively Funny Novel

O’Neill, Ken. “The Marrying Kind”, Bold Strokes Books, 2012.

A Sensitively Funny Novel

Amos Lassen

I suppose the fact that gay marriage is so much in the news these days; we can only expect a slew of books on the subject. Even more interesting is that fiction writers are writing about it but let me tell you that someone is going to have to do something really magnificent to unseat Ken O’Neill and his sensitive and very funny look at the issue.

Adam Moore is a wedding planner and his partner, Steven Worth, is a bit worried about him. Adam has been having some very strange dreams about the Bush family and “Gone with the Wind”. Then quite suddenly Adam decides that he can no longer work with straight marriages until he is allowed to legally marry Steven who has , as a reporter for “The Gay New York Times” opened a call to boycott by any of the gay population that provide some kind of wedding service (from flowers to caterers to musicians).

If we take a look at this and think about it, it is quite easy to see how the entire marriage industry could be crippled without LGBT input and businesses. As serious as this could be, O’Neill writes with great humor and you cannot help but laugh as you read (and that’s a good thing). But we are also hit in the face with the seriousness of the matter and both humor and seriousness are wonderfully balanced by the writer.

Let’s face it—marriage equality is not a humorous issue yet O’Neill finds humor in it. He deals with the complicated issues involved with marriage and then finds the humor. In effect, the book is more about love and we see here that it is perfectly okay to laugh about it.

It is not often that we get a book that makes us laugh all the way through and I must admit that I have not had this much fun with a book in a very long time. Even though it s set some five years ago in 2007, it is still totally relevant.

Now there is a touch of conflict here—just as the boycott begins, Adam’s sister and Steven’s brother announce that they are getting married… to each other. They want Adam to plan their wedding but if he does, he will break the boycott. This takes us into a wonderful discussion of marriage and its components and O’Neill handles it all with style. This is his first novel and if this is a sign of what is to come then we have a new literary hero to welcome to the canon of LGBT literature. The novel so rises above the level of fluff that it leaves a trail behind it and I think that O’Neill must enter this for a 2012 Lambda Award.

Narrated by Steven, we get great insight into the characters which are so delightfully rendered. Steven and Adam are so real, I could have sworn they were sitting across from me as I read. An author who can create characters that come across as friends is an author to watch.

Ken O’Neill has quite a hit with this funny and sweet look at love, relationships, family and marriage and you do not want to miss it by any means. RUN, don’t walk, to get a copy.

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