Category Archives: Ken O’Neill

Review: George Bailey Gets Saved in the End by Ken O’Neill

Title: George Bailey Gets Saved in the End by Ken O’Neill
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Humor/Satire
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Same Holiday. Different George.

George Bailey, who has made a fortune selling Christmas ornaments, is having a rough few days. He’s thrown his back out lifting the Thanksgiving turkey; his father has died and his wife has left him. He’d turn to his best friend for support, but said BFF is having an affair with his wife.

Let the holiday season begin!

On the heels of all this misery George meets a new woman, and he also meets Jesus (or perhaps just an awfully nice guy named Jesus). As he scrambles to hold together his floundering family, he must figure out if these strange and wondrous events are miracles or symptoms of a nervous breakdown.

Review:

George Bailey Gets Saved in the End by Ken O’Neill is a humorous novel that is also poignant and surprisingly, uplifting.

After a series of life-altering events occur in fairly quick succession, George Bailey is forced out of complacency about his career and marriage. He works alongside his father, brother and to  some extent, his own children, in the family owned Christmas business. George has grown increasingly unhappy with his job but inertia and family expectations have left him unable to decide whether or not to leave his position.  Although not exactly happy in his 24 year marriage, he is content to stay with his childhood sweetheart, Tara.  As events continue to  snowball out of control, George has no choice but face his growing dissatisfaction with his life, but will he make better choices than he has in the past?

George is an endearing middle aged man who is content to maintain the status quo despite his increasing unhappiness.  He ignores problems until he has no choice but to face them and even then, he is hard-pressed to make decisions about how to fix them. With his life completely upended, George makes a few questionable choices but overall, he is making progress as he tries to figure out what will make him happy.  While he is definitely making progress in making positive changes in his life, he still has to force himself to explore his feelings and stop reacting passively to difficult situations.  Habits of a lifetime are difficult to break, but George makes considerable progress in affecting positive changes in every aspect of his life.

George Bailey Gets Saved in the End by Ken O’Neill is a charming holiday novel that is fast-paced and engaging.  The characters are multi-faceted with quirks that add to their overall appeal. An entertaining yet extremely heartwarming story of new beginnings that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend.

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Filed under Contemporary, Fiction, George Bailey Gets Saved in the End, Humor, Ken O'Neill, Rated B+, Review, Satire

The Marrying Kind by Ken O’Neill

Title: The Marrying Kind by Ken O’Neill
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 264 pages
Book Rating: B+

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

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.

The Review:

A serious topic delivered with plenty of humor, Ken O’Neill’s debut novel The Marrying Kind is a thought-provoking novel that is poignant, funny and quite touching. While not a romance in the traditional sense, there are romantic elements. It is definitely a novel about love. The love shared between two people. Unconditional family love.

Like most people, Steven Worth has some unresolved issues from his past. He is an endearing character whose self-deprecating humor is laugh out loud funny. Steven’s love for Adam is palpable and leaps off the pages. He has a good relationship with his exasperating yet loving mother and he is quite close to his brother Peter.

Adam More is a quiet, hardworking man. His marriage planning business is thriving and he, too, is close to his family. All is well between this committed couple until a few casual comments spark a growing discontent in Adam over their inability to legally wed. Following an offhand remark by Steven, Adam decides to quit planning weddings. It is his decision to boycott ALL weddings, including his sister Amanda’s, that begins to tear apart his relationship with Steven.

It was quite eye opening to see how much of an impact Adam’s decision has on so many lives. With their personal and professional lives overlapping, the effects are immediately apparent. While not obvious at first, Steven slowly realizes that he does not necessarily agree with Adam’s decisions. While he sees Adam’s point of view, he is very torn by his loyalty to his brother. He is also very sympathetic to the innocent victims who are unintentionally caught up in the consequences of the boycott.

The Marrying Kind is an engaging novel that will touch your heart. The characters are delightfully quirky and very true to life. The plot is compelling and highlights one of the most relevant and hotly debated topics today. Never preachy, Ken O’Neill makes what many people consider a political issue personal. He puts a face to those whose lives are affected by the inability to legally marry. The injustices are many yet seldom seen by the average person.

Funny and heartwarming, The Marrying Kind is a book that everyone should read.

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Filed under Bold Strokes Books, Contemporary, Ken O'Neill, M/M, Rated B+, The Marrying Kind