An American Marriage

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

"You can never really unlove somebody. Maybe it changes shape, but it's there."

We're less than a week in, but I've found one of the best books of the year. An American Marriage is an exquisitely written account of three people in love and how their lives and relationships are affected when one, Roy, is sent to jail when wrongfully convicted of the rape of an older woman. His wife, Celestial, eventually decides that she cannot remain married to him, and tells him so three years into his 12-year sentence. However, two years after that, Roy is finally freed thanks to the efforts of Celestial's uncle. Roy goes home to see his wife (and her new fiancé Andre) to...

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My first five-star read of 2018. It's not often that I read a literary fiction with my heart pounding until the last lines. The characters Jones writes are so compelling and real that I feel like if I read the book again they just might have changed their conversations and actions.

An American Marriage follows three main characters: Celestial, Roy, and Andre. After being married only 18 months, Celestial and Roy are driven apart by a false rape accusation which sends Roy to jail. Andre, who introduced the couple, becomes an integral connection between them while the Roy is imprisoned. Once released, Roy has to put the pieces of his life back together. Is Celestial still his wife? Is...

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For those of you who follow my book blog Laurie's Lit Picks, you know I have spent a bit of time over the last couple years reading non-fiction about prison reform (ie Just Mercy and The New Jim Crow) and the need for true justice in America. In a powerful new novel, acclaimed author Tayari Jones brings us a fiction book that explores what happens to a young marriage when it is ripped apart by injustice. Roy and Celestial, a young married couple who are living the American Dream in Atlanta, journey home to Louisiana to visit Roy's parents; a night at a motel leads to a false accusation of rape against Roy and the subsequent conviction and incarceration in a state prison. Told...

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Beautifully told, heartbreaking, yet ultimately uplifting, this is the story of a young marriage and the occurrences both within and outside of that relationship that affect not only the two people in the marriage, but also those closest to them. Race, class, gender and societal issues are addressed within the context of the story, which is both timely and timeless. Go into this knowing little to nothing of the book's details so that you can let the story unfold as the narrators tell it to you, each sharing their own perceptions about the events that touch them all and shape them in different ways. Tayari Jones will take you to the southern setting that is a vibrant character of its...

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I really enjoyed this, it felt timely and important and the writing was very powerful.
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Pardon the structure of this review: sent from my phone. The story is told from Roy, Celestial, and Andres POV. You love and hate them each at different times.

This is a book about family, obligation, and choices- those that are forced upon you and those you want to make. Incredible writing. She brings you into the story quickly and gets you to care and Empathize.

Get to learn about the bulk of their relationship through letters. Fitting, seeing as how that's how they spent most of it.

Very straightforward way of talking about racism in America. But it's not just about that - It's telling a story about one specific family.. Would be a good classic book for people to read...

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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones starts off with a bang.  Celestial and Roy are newlyweds who are suddenly ripped apart because of a false accusation that turns into a prison sentence for Roy.  This story deals with the aftereffects of the prison sentence on what was a very happy marriage.  We get to know Celestial and Roy as well as other members of their families and friends.  This is a quick and riveting read.  Enjoy!
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This was a fascinating story. I feel like it's one of those books where the less you know about it, the better. I can see why this book is being touted as not-to-be-missed. The characters seem so real, and the various depictions of marriage are interesting to consider. This one will stick with me for a long time.
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A new novel by Tayari Jones is cause for celebration. Silver Sparrow was one of my favorite books the year it was released and I couldn’t wait to read this new one. But, when I first read the blurb for this novel it didn’t actually get me that excited about reading it. I’m not the guy for stories situated around romance of any kind and I wasn’t sure even the vast talents of Ms Jones could change my opinion of that.

The first 80-100 pages certainly didn’t help once I found out that I would be reading a series of letters between two of the main characters. Did I miss reading somewhere that this is an epistolary novel? Certainly this would be another reason for concern - for me at least. Not...

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A slow burn of a novel that swept me up and wouldn't let go. We get to know and love the young couple at the heart of the novel before we witness the terrifying scene in the motel, when they are forced to surrender the clear promise of the future they have dreamt of and worked for. Because each character is rendered with such tenderness, and because the injustice they face is one so many innocent black men and their families have faced, the novel has the terrible, resounding ring of truth.

My grandmother was a white sharecropper in Mississippi who told me stories of how her fingers bled from picking cotton. As a young man, my grandfather suffered deep and frequent humiliations for his...

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This is a beautiful novel about marriage, race, and friendship. Once I got started I could not put it down. I would highly recommend it.
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This book presented a perspective on an aspect of the black American experience that was unique to me as a white American. The injustice of being wrongly accused and the consequences in the lives of those who are was heartfelt.  I loved Tayari Jones' SILVER SPARROW and picked it for my book club several years ago and it was loved by all of our members. I am not sure this story will resonate with the general reading public, but the love triangle was very well portrayed, and I think that is something many can relate to.
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Enjoyable and thought provoking, Tayari Jones gives every side to a story that makes us question not only the legal system, but our own hearts.
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After only one year of marriage, Roy is arrested for a crime his wife, Celestial, knows he did not commit. We, as readers, also know he is not guilty, yet he is convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Instead of focusing on the question of guilt or innocence, this novel asks the question: How do you find your way back to a life that is no longer yours--one that you never really knew in the first place? This complicated and heartbreaking commentary on marriage and justice (or lack thereof) is a must-read in 2018.
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It comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me as a reader that the epistolary section of this book was my favorite. Letters can say so much and still leave so much unsaid. The first-person sections, which alternate among three narrators, were more straightforward, though no less affecting. I loved watching the younger characters learn from their elders what different kinds of marriages can look like. 

Roy's situation was devastating; because it's also devastatingly common, we need more (and more and more and more) stories like this one.
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If I could tell you only one thing about this book it would be "don't read the synopsis"  go in not having a clue what this book is about.  I did and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book.  You will love it.  Don't read anything else about it, discover it for yourself.  Trust me!
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I had high hopes at the start of this book. The set up was intriguing. A couple that had only been married a few years, still working out the kinks in their marriage, is put to a difficult test. The husband is sent to jail for a crime he did not commit. A significant portion of the book is filled with the letters they wrote to each other while he was in prison. That is the best part of the book. The progression of their separate lives solely through the letters was a great technique.

Unfortunately, once the story moved back to their thoughts and dialogue, it goes down hill. The whole thing turns in to a soap opera like melodrama. It goes from being a relateable story, to Dynasty meets...

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What a beautifully original book.  I have never read anything by this author before and I can say I was pleasantly surprised!  I was moved by the characters and their inner dialogues.  I felt it was well constructed and easily readable.
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This heart-wrenching book drew me in from the very first page. It deals with modern-day issues from race to how marriage looks, and is so compelling.
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I could not get into this novel.  I'm sure that other readers will go well with it.  I apologize.
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