Book Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
An American Marriage
Author: Tayari Jones
Published: February 6, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 5-17, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.
An American Marriage is a difficult novel to read and this is because Jones seems to have gotten everything in the story as realistic as it could be. Married around 18 months, Roy is accused of assault and rape then sentenced to twelve years. And yes, Roy is in fact 100% innocent. After five years served, Roy’s conviction is overturned and he will be coming home. But things have changed.
The novels capture many things including being torn between a spouse and parent, how little we may actually know about a spouse going into a marriage. Also brought out in the novel are race and class differences, and traditions. Life was not perfect for Celestial and Roy and this accusation uproots and changes everything. At first they communicate via letter, but then things stop. Roy is stuck in the inside of prison while Celestial is still outside living life. And that begins to center around her childhood friend Andre, who was also the best man in their wedding.
Most of the novel centers around this love triangle and what direction(s) it may go. We never know what life will put us through, what may happen, and how we react. You will never know until you find yourself in a particular situation.
This is a gritty and raw read, and I was not sure where the ending was going, but based on each character’s thoughts and actions, it seems like a realistic and authentic ending. Whether you agree with what each of the three main characters did, the ending was satisfying and the novel keeps you thinking, whether you are happy with the endgame decisions or not of the characters.
Coming in 2022: The ABC Challenge!
2021 had #Diverseathon and 2022 will bring something different, which is why I am telling you about it now: I will be doing an ABC Challenge!
If you are a heavy reader as I am, then you amass books from a variety of ways and those stacks are very out of hand! So for 2022, I will be reading ‘physical’ books that I actually own and in one case borrowed. I will be reading the selected books via the alphabet with the first letter of the particular book corresponding with the letter. As I was planning this, I did come to realize that there are two letters that I don’t have books for, so for those I decided to find a book that had the letter in the title.
I will also be reading one book each that starts with The and This– the decision for those books will come from the followers of Jessica’s Reading Room on Facebook and Instagram
**Now, this is just physical books, not any from my kindle. I have not set a goal on when I will complete this. It could be in 2022 or 2023. The reason is this- I will not be sticking to solely reading books for the ABC challenge. I will finish this when I finish this.
The books could change, but as of now this is my plan of books to read for the ABC challenge:
A: An American Marriage-Tayari Jones
B: Brahmahatya- Rajiv Mittal
C: Can You Keep A Secret?- Sophie Kinsella
D: Distress Signals- Catherine Ryan Howard
E: Everything You Want Me to Be- Mindy Mejia
F: Fierce Kingdom- Gin Phillips
G: Good Me Bad Me- Ali Land
H: How to Save a Life- Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
I: It Happens All the Time- Amy Hatvany
J: Juliet- Anne Fortier
K: Keeping the Beat- Marie Powell and Jeff Norton
L: Love, Alice- Barbara Davis
M: Monster- Walter Dean Myers
N: November 9- Colleen Hoover
O: Outlander – Diana Gabaldon (borrowed from my Mother-in-Law)
P: Pay It Forward- Catherine Ryan Hyde
Q: The Queen’s Gambit- Walter Tevis
R: Rewind- Catherine Ryan Howard
S: Saving Meghan- D.J. Palmer
T: Thirteen- Steve Cavanagh
U: Under the Blood Red Sun- Graham Salisbury
V: Vox- Christina Dalcher
W: Wicked Women of the Bible- Ann Spangler
X: My EX Life- Stephen McCauley
Y: Your Heart Belongs to Me- Dean Koontz
Z- Zoo/ Zoo 2
To be decided by JRR likers from Facebook and Instagram:
**I will narrow the choice to 3 books for them to choose from**
I just want to get my pile of books that need to be read somewhat smaller and this seemed like a good start for me! Do you think you might take part in this challenge? Let me know if so and how you do!!! And what do you think of my list????