Originally posted on Goodreads June 18th 2012.
Wedding planner Adam More has an epiphany: He has devoted all his life’s energy to creating events that he and his partner Steven are forbidden by federal law for having for themselves. So Adam decides to make a change. Organizing a boycott of the wedding industry, Steven and Adam call on gay organists, hairdressers, cater-waiters, priests, and hairdressers everywhere to get out of the business and to stop going to weddings, too. In this screwball, romantic comedy both the movement they’ve begun and their relationship are put in jeopardy when Steven’s brother proposes to Adam’s sister and they must decide whether they’re attending or sending regrets.
As I was browsing through NetGalley I happened on this book. I glanced at the cover, read the blurb, and thought maybe not. Then I looked at the author’s name, and thought maybe yes.
A M/M romance written by a man? Definitely, yes.
Skimming through the blurb I thought this book would be more about Adam, the wedding planner who quits his job in protest until he can legally marry his partner Steven, but as it turns out it’s not. It’s more about Steven, the columnist for The Gay New York Times, with a Romanian family and more than his share of neuroses. He tells the story of how their wedding boycott started and how others embraced it. He shows how the wedding plans of their siblings created conflict not only between them and their families but between Adam and Steven and their cats too.
The Marrying Kind is written in first person limited there’s only one way to win me as a reader over once that writing choice has been made: The narrator’s voice. I’ll either love it, tolerate it, or hate it. While I can’t claim to be ready to drop down on one knee and profess my undying love, neither can I dismiss O’Neill’s writing as merely tolerable.
Despite the slow start I found myself swept away even by the long paragraphs flashing back to Steven’s childhood and other significant moments of his life that usually annoy me with all that telling going on. And then there were the moments of showing. I might have awed a couple of times, but I was usually giggling, cackling, or guffawing loud enough to scare the unsuspecting passes-by depending on the moment. Most of my status updates are direct quotes from those moments I once again scared the neighbours.
The book is filled with classical film references some of which I recognised and others didn’t. Luckily, the author provides a short summary for the relevant parts. One thing the book isn’t filled with is erotica. The plot doesn’t dissolve into pure porn and there is exactly one reference to a sex scene and it’s vague. That fact almost makes me want to give this book an extra star.
Though, I’ve shelved this book under romance, it’s more than that. The story is set in New York in 2007 when gay marriage was yet not legal in the state. It’s about fighting what’s right and making your family see it. It’s about the reality of a stable relationship and accepting your partner as is. It’s about showing why equal rights should be equal.
I couldn’t recommend this book more if I tried.
I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.