The Marrying Kind - Ken  O'Neill People use the acronym “LOL” all the time, but they usually don’t mean it. I laughed out loud twice while reading this book. (Once on the subway, which was mildly embarrassing.) It is THAT funny. Once was a sex joke, and once was a Rosa Parks joke, which gives you the idea of the breadth of the humor in this book. Some of the funny bits are silly and cute. For example, the main characters in this novel are called Adam and Steve (ok, it’s actually “Steven,” but still) and no one in the book ever refers to that fact. It’s a complete throwaway joke. Other funny bits are quite dark, poignant, and Woody Allenish, especially the descriptions of the protagonist’s kooky Romanian mother. I also particularly liked all the classic movie references.

The Marrying Kind is light and fluffy, like a beach read (think Marian Keyes) and yet at the same time is a searing look at inequality and bigotry in our modern life. I was fascinated at the way the story deftly walks the delicate tightrope between flippant and serious. In a nutshell, the book is about a Manhattan wedding planner and his boyfriend who decide that they’re going to boycott all weddings until marriage equality is enacted in the USA—-but then some family members get engaged. The characters are very real and sympathetic, especially the witty but neurotic protagonist Steven. The pacing is nice, and there are a lot of reversals, so that I was kept guessing until the end whether Steven and Adam would attend the family wedding. This is an incredibly accessible and non-threatening way to present a “social issue.” I think even casual straight readers who have never given a thought to gay people will a) be entertained and b) be provoked into thinking about marriage equality (aka “gay marriage.”)