Review: Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish

David Rakoff can write in a style that is so charming, playful, and amusing that the emotional depth of his work can catch the reader by surprise.  That’s the case with Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish. It is a consistently diverting and enjoyable mosaic of lives that shifts from charming to profound when a few key connections are made.

The novel is told entirely in rhyming couplets, which presents challenges to writer and reader. For the reader it can be offputting and gimmicky, and I suspect that some will avoid Love because of the format.  For the writer, the difficulties of maintaining the form without letting the form be the book are substantial.  Too many forced rhymes or sentences split across couplets and the reader is yanked from the story.

Rakoff is up to the challenge, and more importantly has chosen the form to serve his purposes.  This form is a staple of children’s literature, and using it puts the reader into the mindset of absorbing a simple tale that will raise a smile. Rakoff delivers the simplicity and the smiles, but is ambitious enough to deliver a wallop as well.

Strongly Recommended.

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