An American Marriage

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

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 to worry, it’s not.

Reading beyond the 100 pages the immense, compelling and captivating storytelling skills of Tayari Jones really takes flight. All of a sudden I was totally immersed in this story of a love triangle (yes, I said love triangle which I usually abhor) between three Atlantans that involves the justice (injustice) system, rape, Louisiana, secrets, lies and more.

What I really like about this novel is where Silver Sparrow seemed to highlight the relationships between girls, women, mothers for the most part. This book seem to be a sort of love letter to young black boys, men and fathers. 

Tayari writes fresh, simple stories that are about everyday life. She reels you in before you realize it and then you're absolutely hooked. I loved this book and I think you will too.
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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 poverty, But despite the enormous difficulties they faced, I have always been aware that, their skin color granted them certain clear privileges in the pre-civil rights Deep South--namely, the privilege of safety. Jone's story felt personal to me, somehow intertwined with the reality of my family's own complicated history, in a way that few novels do.
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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 Love and Hip Hop. The characters make terrible, nonsensical decisions. And somethings are left unexplained. Specifically, the woman's voice never explains her motive for her big decision (made while he was in prison) to us. And since that turns all of their fate, its kind of important.
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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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I had heard buzz about this book at BEA and  AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE thankfully lived up to the hype.
I cared so much for each of the  believable characters in this wonderful heartbreaking love story.   Powerful and gripping tale about the new Jim Crow.  Can’t wait to recommend and discuss this book!
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Loved this book and enjoyed reading it so much that I never wanted to stop!  Accompanying Roy, Celestial and Andre on their hard-fought journey through an egregious injustice with hope, love, friendship, brutal honesty and respect was intense.  Looking forward to reading other titles by Tayari Jones!
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I really enjoy Tayari Jones's writing style. She writes easy-to-read, plot-driven fiction, but her characters are always so sharply drawn you feel like you know them, and she knows how to turn a beautiful phrase. This book had all of those elements. It wasn't quite a five-star read for me, though, because I didn't love the second half of the book as much as the first. Quite a few events happen quickly and some aren't adequately explained. Still, a most enjoyable read. Thank you to Net Galley for providing me an advanced copy for review.
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An incredible story about life, love, and the shameful reality of what it means to be a black man in America. When Celestial’s husband Roy was falsely accused and incarcerated, her world, and marriage were rocked. What ensued was real, raw, and complicated. Jones does a masterful job of telling this story.
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A wonderful study of naturally flawed human beings deal with marriage in today's complex and challenging world.  You'll question the premise of 'till death do you part.  Recommended for bookclubs
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Recently married, Roy and Celestial are focused on building a life together. One night at a motel in Louisiana changes everything. Five years pass and the couple must piece together what happened and how they can move beyond the tragedy that befell them. This story explores the complexities of race, marriage, and loyalty with grace and wisdom. Highly recommend.
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DNF.  I'm sure others will find this novel quite interesting, but it just didn't capture my interest.  I stopped reading just a few chapters in.
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This book was a very interesting and unique portrayal of marriage.  The story begins with newlyweds Celestial and Roy who are a young black couple with promising futures. Their lives are torn apart when Roy is sentenced to jail for a crime he did not commit. I enjoyed the author's use of letter correspondence during Roy's incarceration which is an effective device in conveying the difficulties they are each enduring and the effects on their separation as Roy struggles in prison and Celestial begin to move on with her life.  The writer's style feels conversational as if you are sitting down and talking with the characters as the book changes perspective between each. Overall a very well written book with interesting and complex characters.
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