An American Marriage

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

Amazing story, great characters, quick read that kept me up reading just one more chapter. So many scenes made me close the book and just mourn for the characters. The ending felt rushed, which was a shame, because I could easily have read another 200 pages to see if Roy and Celestial would ever find happiness again.
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Wow! Ms. Jones has found a way to describe a marriage that has to go through the ups and downs of incarceration and the feelings of each person in that marriage. I couldn't wait to get to reading each day and find out what was next. I've always enjoyed her books and Silver Sparrow remains one of my favorites but this is sure to be on the list for best books.
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Lots of buzz from Librarians on #ewgc and now I see why.  I really fell into the narrative and enjoyed the well-drawn characters. Evocative, deeply moving and an entry into a story outside my own experience. Very well done.
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'An American Marriage' follows the story of Roy and Celestial, a young married couple in America's south. They encounter the normal bumps in the road of an ordinary marriage for their first year, until Roy is wrongly accused and convicted of rape, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Five years later, Roy's conviction is overturned and he is released to find that Celestial has not waited for him: she's in a new relationship. 

The reverberations of Roy's conviction are felt throughout the novel, as the plot winds through the past, present, and eventual future for Roy and Celestial and their marriage. 

It's a strong plot with high emotions and a great set of characters. I really enjoyed an insight into a part of American culture and life that I know very little about, and this immersive plot was engaging, enlightening and entertaining.
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This story is so beautifully told.  There are no good guys or bad guys...just some flawed folk dealing with ridiculously unfair issues.  It makes you wonder how long love must root before it can weather storms.  It makes you think about sacrifice and love and pain...tradition, mobility, and family.  I could not put it down.  Tayari Jones has written a gorgeous truthful novel.  I was privileged to get an early copy...I highly recommend this!
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1 significant night changes lives forever.

Letters between husband and wife for 3 years.

I could not finish book.

My husband is an ex-convict ... the homecoming scene with another woman bothered me.
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In America, we are often taught to assign people labels as 'wrong' 'undeserving' 'guilty' 'bad' so that we do not have to spend any time or energy trying to understand their lives and circumstances, and therefore empathize with them. If people are completely bad, then they certainly deserve their horrid situation, it is not our fault, and we cannot waste time worrying about them. And so we can sleep at night.

Rationalizing writing people off because of bad luck, or poor choices has prevented us from being a more caring community. And so in this story, an outsider could file these people into their categories:
(view spoiler)Done. Highlight the worst choice or most unfortunate luck to have happened to someone, throw them in the box, stop caring about them and move on.

Jones uses multiple perspectives, like she successfully did in Silver Sparrow, and effectively allows you to better understand from the inside how people survive and make decisions in impossible situations. We are all complex humans, not one of us is perfect. This book is tragic, riveting, wrenching, and honest. 

Tayari Jones is incomparable. American Marriage is unforgettable. Very Highly Recommended.
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An incredibly written look into one couples marriage that is torn apart by issues of race and incarceration. The book started very slow to me, but by the end I was wishing there was more to read.
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A fascinating look into a new, seemingly strong marriage thrust into an impossible situation. Jones brings to life a story that causes you to evaluate your own relationships: what would happen to YOUR marriage if the unthinkable happened to you?
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https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2121064561

I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me of Mama Day by Gloria Naylor and Their Eyes were Watching God by Zoraida Neale Hurston. They all deal with keeping a relationship together during a tumultuous situation. I'm An American Marriage not all the characters were likable but she made them complex enough that you could understand where they were coming from.  I was surprised that I like it because the major crisis in the book dealt with a very delicate and sensitive topic. A black man being imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. The emotion of the book gripped me.  I like the journey that they all took.
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This book follows Roy Jr & Celestial through their first 2 yrs of marriage before an incident upends their life together. Told from several points of view, as well as covering many years through letters to each other, this book examines what it means to be married to someone, and the values we place upon others & ourselves. This book was enjoyable.
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I was introduced to this book from in a Booklist webinar, Enticing Book Club Picks.

Jones writes of a fictional family in the south, who are touched by one person being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the false accusations. The ripple effect and the harm it causes are told in narratives by various characters in the book.

Recommended for public libraries and book clubs.
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Me. Jones has written an engaging tale chronicling the lives of Celestial and Roy and their circle of friends and relatives. Characters are well developed, as is the setting.
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The over all story was fantastic and touched the heartstrings. The relationship between Roy and Celeste represented the true struggles of a marriage through distance and resentment. Celeste as a character reflects the need for a person to be free. Free of not only social bonds, but of expectations those closes to you have.
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I raced to the end, reading the book in one day, which I never manage to do. There is a lot I really liked about this book, but the last fifth or so of the book disappointed me. The characters I came to care about exhibited choices and behavior that I feel are very much out of character. There were, in my interpretation at least, some disturbing values portrayed in the end too. Jones' writing is often stunning and the dialogue is believable. I have to give her credit for getting the Louisiana speak right (making groceries, fixing a plate) - lots of books, TV shows, and movies fail miserably at their attempt at Louisiana settings and characters, but not Jones.
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This book was such an emotional ride, I can't remember the last time I was so invested in the lives of fictional characters. This book is a painful and honest look into the workings of a marriage when the husband is sent to jail, the aftermath that follows is so raw and heart wrenching. I honestly couldn't put this book down, I could not wait to learn what would ultimately happen. The author created some wonderful characters, I truly felt as though I knew them as I progressed through the book. While the subject matter may not be what I usually gravitate toward I really enjoyed this book!

I was given an advance copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.


https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2066726319?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
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Aside from the unneeded racial comments towards the beginning of the book, I enjoyed the book.
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I loved this book so much! The ending was so unsatisfying that it took some of the initial happiness away and left me wanting answers. But anyway, what a great writer this woman is!

Story is about what happens to a marriage when a husband, wrongly accused, goes to prison. Main question is - can modern marriages stand the test of time? I wondered about the adjective 'American' in the title and I still don't see why is this story specifically related to American and not all other similar marriages across the world, but, oh well.  I liked how we could follow the story from different POVs, their motives were well elaborated. That didn't make me love the husband any more than little, but I appreciate a well-crafted character. Celestial is such an interesting woman and I really enjoyed her story and her strength, pride and ease. Basically, I loved them all and I felt for them all. Just like when you hear a sad story about someone you know, neighbor or a coworker and you feel invested because you saw them and had some ideas about what they are going through. So, good job, Miss Jones!

I loved the style, I will certainly follow Tayari Jones' future work, this was such a pleasure for me. Although I was left with a lot of questions about the ending, I liked the questions that resonated with me after reading about many deeper issues, not related to the plot. This novel had a lot of strong convictions worth discussing or at least mentioning.
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I think Tayari Jones has a clear, accessible style, but this book does not have the heart of Leaving Atlanta or Silver Sparrow--for whatever reason, there just doesn't seem to be as much at stake.
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