An American Marriage

An American Marriage

A Novel

Book - 2018
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"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina :, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781616201340
Characteristics: 308 pages ; 24 cm


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Nov 16, 2018

Good story for an enlightening book discussion which offers the reader an opportunity to reflect on personal views about what defines a marriage, considering how friendships evolve depending on the current situation and how behavior can be affected by one’s relationship with parents.

DPL_Graham Nov 05, 2018

At the heart of “An American Marriage” is an old-school love triangle. The main characters are surrounded by mothers and fathers who have each come from unstable relationships: divorce, cheating, and love triangles of their own. With that setup, it is no wonder that the main stories love triangle is hard to watch and why the main characters all find themselves irrepressibly pulled towards unstable actions and conclusions.

An “American Marriage” starts off with a bang! In the first 40 pages character are born, married, fight over families, and then Celestial’s husband Roy is sent to prison for 12 years for a crime he didn’t commit. While Roy is in prison Celestial grows into a relationship with Dre, Celestial’s perennial “Friend Zoned” childhood bestie. The consequences leads into ugliness on all sides.

This is an easy read you can tear through in a few hours. The novel delivered entertaining reading and the characters and their decisions bounced through my mind afterwards – but my thoughts and feelings were of frustration at their unfeeling actions and lack of decisiveness. All of the main characters exhibit the ugly side of relationships and humanity and their string of bad decisions made them all very unsympathetic.

Author Tayari Jones was inspired to write this novel thanks to a chance encounter in an Atlanta mall where she heard a couple arguing. The line that stuck with her was the female saying: “You know you wouldn't have waited on me for seven years. And he said, I don't know what you're talking about. This wouldn't have happened to you in the first place.” This small moment in time was the seed that fertilized the growth of “An American Marriage.”

*An American Marriage is on the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Longlist

Oct 25, 2018

This book had me hooked from start to finish.

Oct 07, 2018

A masterpiece of storytelling!

Sep 26, 2018

This book was fantastic, and definitely worth all of the reviews. I really enjoyed the characters, and how unpredictable the story was, there were so many twists and turns, none of which I saw coming even to the end.

Sep 19, 2018

3.75 stars. The writing style is beautiful and soulful. The story is interesting and unjust but for me, not riveting. It is a sad commentary with difficult character dynamics. It was worth reading but not life altering. I know there is a lot of buzz and perhaps that is because the wording was a skillfully woven tapestry; Jones is an incredibly talented writer. But some of the hype may simply be because Oprah recommended it.

ArapahoeJessica Sep 04, 2018

What brings us together... and what tears us apart?

Complex, character-driven, and deeply personal. This story focuses less on the injustice of wrongful imprisonment and racism, instead examining the fallout. I can't say that I actually liked any of the characters, but they sure made me think!

Aug 29, 2018

Jones explores a case of an African-American man’s unjust conviction for a crime he did not acquit, his subsequent five-year incarceration, and the consequences for his marriage. Unfortunately, she then focuses on some of the least interesting aspects of the situation, and produces a rather ordinary chick-lit style account of a love triangle.
In the process, Jones creates three central characters who take turns narrating, but she isn’t up to the task. In her account, the woman at the center is full of herself and scarcely likable while the two college-educated males agree with the “wisdom” of one’s father that this situation cannot be resolved without engaging in violence. Credit Jones for exploring socioeconomic and racial issues, but in grappling with them she comes up short.

Aug 28, 2018

This was a quick read. If you like character driven novels, this is one for you. I was a little leery because it was an Oprah book club selection, and I haven't always agreed with her, but this one was compelling. A few loose ends, but overall, well done.

Aug 19, 2018

This is a beautifully written story about Celestial and Roy who after being married for a year find themselves separated when Roy is falsely sentenced for a crime he did not commit. This tells the story of how they met and married and also how they deal while Roy is in jail and how they cope once he is out. It's a sad story to read.

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