Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Marrying Kind by Ken O'Neill

I found a book this weekend that had me thinking.  I've been married for eight years and I regularly feel guilty about it.  It always makes me feel awful that marriage has always been more about politics and less about love. In the past people married for money or land or political gains.  Now people get married so they can get benefits like tax breaks or health insurance coverage.  People also like to make marriage a political agenda.  They like to keep some people from getting married or keep the government from accepting the marriages that some churches/states perform.  It's all nonsense.  Marriage should be about love.  Whoever you love and however you love.  Eight years ago, when I got married, my father in law was not a fan of the idea and he still isn't today but he had no way of stopping it.  Not everyone is so lucky.  That's what The Marrying Kind is all about.  How we deal with this injustice and how it affects us all.

I received an e-galley of The Marrying Kind by Ken O'Neill from Bold Strokes Books through NetGalley.  Here's the Goodreads blurb:

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. Ken O'Neill is a New York–based writer and activist whose blog (themarryingkind.org) is devoted to marriage equality.

This is a delightful story of two people and how they react differently to the same issue in their lives.  Adam and Steven can't get married even though they have lived together for a long time and are raising two cats together.  That is a problem for most gay men but Adam feels it even stronger after a chance encounter with a man at one of the weddings that he planned.  The man's simple statement: "it must hurt to plan all these weddings when you can't ever have one yourself" sets off a chain reaction in Adam's mind causing him to change the way he views his business.  This about face in his thinking could not have come at a worse time when shortly after Adam's epiphany, his sister and Steven's brother announce that they're getting married.  This throws a wrench into his marriage boycott plans.  It also calls into question how the marriage question affects each of them.  Should they really "take it out" on their straight friends and relatives?  Should those straight people be understanding and supportive in the quest for marriage equality?  These are all questions that Steven and Adam need to answer for themselves.  In the end, the whole process leads to them learning more about themselves, each other and the world they live in.  I loved every moment of this book because while it has a political purpose, it does not read as a book that is trying to force you into anything (believe me, my father in law loves that Focus on the Family stuff so I know what that looks and sounds like).  Steven tells a charming story of an event in his life that left him changed.  The reader comes away from the book wondering about the same things that Steven did as he went through this.  This is really worth reading.

You can find out more about author Ken O'Neill and his movement for Marriage Equality on his blog.  You can also click here to find The Marrying Kind on Goodreads.  I really hope that you'll give this book a chance when it releases on June 19th.  The Marrying Kind earns 4 Fairies for a lovely story about one couple's journey through activism.

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