I was very excited when NPR’s Best Books of 2019 List finally came out at the end of the year. I never have a problem finding books I want to read, but I’m always ready to add more to my list. And that’s how I found Love Poems (for Married People) (2018)* by John Kenney.
At first glance, this might not seem like a book that would interest me. Most importantly, perhaps, I am not married. I am dating someone, but my relationships are few and far between. This “married people” intimacy thing is not something I’m familiar with. However, Kenney is a writer for the New Yorker, and this book apparently grew out of a popular humor column in the magazine. Also, Love Poems received many positive reviews, and it appeared to be funny, accessible, and short. Most importantly, I am not restricted to books that relate directly to me. Some of the best parts about reading are experiencing lives that are not your own. I can find situations that I haven’t personally been in amusing, and I can relate to some other situations even though I’ve never been married.
And I enjoyed Love Poems. It was a very fast read. Sure, some poems I enjoyed more than others, but I laughed out loud more than once. They were all easy to follow, but generally clever and insightful. I mentioned the book to some married friends of mine, and they seemed interested in a possible Valentine’s Day present that wasn’t too sappy and romantic.
I could even personally relate to one poem, “Bedtime,” which reminded me very much of me, and how I need my quiet space when I’m trying to sleep. Another favorite of mine was, “Sexting isn’t this, apparently,” which made me laugh. There is also a series of poems on marriage counseling that were consistently amusing.
There’s not much else I can say to describe this book without simply copying some poems down, which would kind of ruin it. All I can say is that it’s short, it’s fun, and I enjoyed reading it.
* I’m not sure how this book ended up on NPR’s 2019 list when the book’s copyright says 2018, but I guess that’s NPR’s issue.
You can find all of my reviews on my blog.