An American Marriage – Book Review

Hey, just finished another book, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Here is my review!

An American Marriage: WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION, 2019 by [Tayari Jones]

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. Until one day 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.

Devastated and unmoored, Celestial finds herself struggling to hold on to the love that has been her centre, taking comfort in Andre, their closest friend. When Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, he returns home ready to resume their life together.

A masterpiece of storytelling, An American Marriage offers a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three unforgettable characters who are at once bound together and separated by forces beyond their control.

No. of pages :- 321 pages

Date Published:- March 2018

Genre:- African American Fiction/Contemporary Fiction

Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage (Algonquin Books, February 2018). Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the NEA added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. An Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University, she is spending the 2017-18 academic year as the Shearing Fellow for Distinguished Writers at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

This book had been in my want to read list for a long time and finally, I was able to get my hands on this book!!! This book has so many good raving books including comments from former US president Obama and Oprah Winfrey’s book choice for her book club so this made me want to read the book more!

So in a nutshell, Roy and Celestial are newlywed couple who seemed to be living a comfortable life in Atlanta and who also seemed to be having a successful married life with the hopes of having a family. But on the night of the anniversary in Louisiana, a fateful incident happened that changed both Roy and Celestial’s married life. Roy was sentenced to twelve years in prison for a crime he never committed and the story begins with how this incident had a great impact on their married life.

Now here are the things I like about the book.

  • The book was well written–the author has written this book really well, captivating the reader. The descriptions of the places and food, the emotions and feelings that each of the characters are feeling are so well written that the reader can feel them.
  • The book is very realistic outlining many injustices that many African-American are facing in America even today. Roy, is a successful African-American male but became easily suspect when the woman accuses him of raping her. Despite lack of seemingly evidence and proof that Roy never raped the woman, he was sentenced to jail for twelve years (eventually shortened to five thanks to Celestial’s uncle’s work). This is just how most African-American despite having successful careers are still easily accused of being criminals. This is still a sad and emotional issue that most African Americans are facing.
  • The main focus of the book is the emotional impact this had on Roy and Celestial’s marriage and not about the crime Roy was convicted of which makes it a unique book to read.
  • The story was told from the perspectives of Roy, Celestial and Andre (who is Celestial’s childhood friend and later on lover and who was the one who set Roy and Celestial up during college) so we know what each of the characters are thinking about each other.
  • I also like the letters that are exchanged between Celestial and Roy, while he was in prison, outlining how their marriage seemed to be deteriorating and how the epilogue ends with Celestial and Roy writing letters to each other after they go in their separate ways, showing they still care about each other.

Now the things I didn’t like about the book.

  • Though the story was good, I didn’t like the characters at all particularly Celestial. For me, she sounds selfish and think only about herself.
  • Some parts of the story was boring

Overall, this is an emotional book to read. Worth four stars!

5 Black Stars -

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