A spoiler It s in the book s jacket descriptionThere s this mythical notion that you ll wait forever for the person you love Penelope from the Odyssey is the classic example she fights off potential suitors for 20 years waiting for her husband Odysseus to return from warIt s a romantic idea but is it realistic Jones doesn t seem to think so We all like to imagine we d be Penelope in that situation but I suspect many would end up like Celestial instead She writes to Roy You may feel like you re carrying a burden but I shoulder a load as well Later she says A marriage is than your heart it s your life And we are not sharing ours The fact that their marriage didn t have a fairytale ending felt realistic Roy s unjust incarceration and the separation it caused pushed on the seams that already existed in their relationship and eventually those seams broke Despite her decision to leave him Celestial is a sympathetic character You understand why she made her choice An American Marriage is fundamentally a story about how incarceration hurts than just the person locked up It s also a reminder of how draconian our criminal justice system can be especially for black men like Roy Once you et sucked into that system you re marked for life Everything you were or had can disappear while you re in prisonIn a letter to his lawyer Roy writes about how things have been difficult for Celestial but even difficult for him I try to see her side of things but it s hard to weep for anyone who is out in the world living their dream he saysJones is such a Gandhi Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age good writer that you can t help but empathize with Roy and Celestial Both have been put into a super difficult position I obviously haven t experienced what theyo through but the characters and their reactions to the situation ring true to meI wouldn t say An American Marriage is a light easy read but it s so well written that you ll find yourself sucked into it despite the heavy subject matter If you re looking for something thought provoking to read this winter you should add this one to your list I can t say that I loved An American Marriage What I can say is that it made me think deeply about human nature love and of course marriage This is a thought provoking well written depth filled character study about a marriage on the brink Celestial and Roy a young couple from Atlanta have been married for just over a year when Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years in jail Will their marriage survive their separation or will they be able to withstand Roy s incarceration The bulk of the story focuses on a love triangle between Roy Celestial and Celestial s childhood friend Andre In addition to romantic love and marriage themes of motherhood and fatherhood race clas Edited 920 to add My book club discussed this last night and while not everyone loved the book but no one disliked it it made for a lively and interesting discussion I d highly recommend for book clubsI m afraid I m in the outlier club with this one What I liked The writing is orgeous 4 5 stars for the beauty of the prose Plus the author writes in a way that sounds like the way real people think and talk The letters Celestial and Roy exchanged How one unfortunate tragic
Event Unfair As It Was unfair as it was totally change the trajectory of your life It ives food for thought it was thought provoking with complex moral themes surrounding loyalty and marriageWhat I didn t like The characters While I sympathized with their plight I just didn t like them Which I can t explain because I usually like my characters somewhat complicated and flawed Unlikability is not a deal breaker but I like what I like and often I can t even explain why I am so turned off by some characters The plot after the beginning I just stopped caring It felt like I was reading the script of a cheesy Movie There S A Time And Place There s a time and place cheesy it just wasn t what I was expecting when I went into this book The epilogue My eyes may have rolled than once I will definitely read anything else the author writes because I found this book so well written and her style so engaging but this one just didn t uite work for me It all boiled down to plot Is it possible that in mid February I ve already read my favorite book of 2018 An American Marriage was outstanding Not only did I immediately become hooked and stay invested in the story the uality of the writing was pure excellence A newlywed couple Roy and Celestial are early on in their marriage when Roy is sentenced to 12 years in jail for
a crime he did not commit This changes the course of their lives and feelings and the story unfolds from here crime he did not commit This changes the course of their lives and feelings and the story unfolds from here s conviction is overturned 5 years into his sentence too changing things once again But home isn t where you land home is where you launch You can t pick your home any than you can choose your family In poker you I Was A Stranger get five cards Three of them you can swap out but two are yours to keep family and native land There were different points in the book where I disliked all three of the primary characters however I was so engrossed I had to keep reading to find out how this story would play out I feel like there was excess in trying to frame Celestial as an independent woman though Outside of a professional sense I didn t find her to be that independent at all Her actions to me definitely indicated otherwise I liked that while Roy and Celestial were both adults their parents still played a central role in the story I also enjoyed the many authentic Atlanta references throughout the book But how you feel love and how you understand love are two different things Human emotion is beyond comprehension smooth and uninterrupted like an orb made of blownlass An American Marriage portrays realistic behaviors and actions people experience themselves and through others and this is why I enjoyed it so immensely While I just didn t want it to end I really liked the endin. Sume their life togetherThis stirring love story is a deeply insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling an intimate look into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward with hope and pain into the futu. Character may have one through the most productive rowth of all Celestial s needs and expectations are different from Roy s ideals some of which can be attributed to malefemale roles and expectations in a marriage and others to their own individuality But throw in a HUGE live altering test of the marriage and it will either strengthen or fall apart Which way did things o for Roy and CelestialThe other timely topics explored have to do with racism and mass incarceration Prison life is fraught with danger and loneliness and of course Roy missed his former life but it was simple things things we so easily take for ranted that makes the bleakness of his situation come alive Despite their flaws and each party has their fair share of them they were basically ordinary people thrown in an extraordinary circumstance and left to cope with those circumstances as best they could They were both human with real needs desires hopes and dreams Both made excuses both played the blame ame but both have a bond together they find hard to break free of The epistolary parts of the novel were well done which exposes both the closeness and the awkwardness of the marriage but also the way time robbed them of the rowth marriages need to survive The secondary characters were added depth and conflict and were also very well drawn and eually affected by the outcome of Roy and Celetial s marriageWhile the book is not filled with action or suspense or even despite the heaviness of the situation is it melodramatic with one exception that to be honest almost had to happen to break the tension that boiled to the surface There were a few tense moments that made me pretty uncomfortable but mostly the author just allowed the characters to flow to take charge and dictate the pacing This approach sounds understated and maybe even underwhelming but this story was incredibly absorbing and I have to say the conclusion was surprising but at the same time not Despite some misgivings and mixed emotions about how the characters ended up overall I think they may be exactly where they need to be both as individuals and as a couple It may be tempting to take sides but I can t say I would do better or worse in that same situation but I did struggle with passing judgments on occasion Either way this is a well written examination of relationships and human foibles and how otherwise normal well intentioned Gone: The Disappearance of Claudia Lawrence and Her Father's Desperate Search for the Truth good people face adversity and come out on the other end of it changed for better or worse 4 stars Much of life is timing and circumstance I see that now I know it s still early but I veot a feeling this is 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts going to be one of my favourite reads of 2018 It is a powerful subtle sad tale about the criminal justice system in America and the personal long term conseuences of its injusticesThere s a lot of discussion articles and fiction looking at race based injustice in the prison system of the United States Most of these focus on racial profiling of young black men and how juries are likely to convict a black This book stung so hard I almost looked for the cut of it on my skinIt s the kind of novel that sinks its teeth into you One that enkindles in you such a brief and yet so excruciating pain One that is so vivid the firstlimpse of reality would shock you and you would emerge from its thrall dazed half dreaming dizzy and for I cannot for the life of me understand why people like this book If it weren t FOR OPRAH LOVING IT I HONESTLY DO NOT THINK Oprah loving it I honestly do not think people like this book If it weren t for Oprah loving it I honestly do not think would buy it There was no plot and it is the most boring book I ve ever read Basically if you read the synopsis you ve read all the exciting parts and know the entire plot It s technically an easy read but boring overall I powered through to finish it since it has so many positive reviews with the hopes that it would suddenly turn around or have an amazing ending that would make it worth reading Major disappointment A couple years ago Melinda and I visited a state prison in Georgia as part of our foundation s work on US poverty I d never been to a prison before and it was an eye opening experienceThe most memorable part was the discussion we had with some of the inmates about transitioning back into society Although most were looking forward to leaving prison behind some were clearly anxious about it One man told us he was scared to re enter society after so many years behind bars Another mentioned that it felt like he was a car about to be dropped into the middle of a racetrack where the other cars are already oing 200 miles per hourI couldn t help but think about that conversation when I was reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones Although it s fictional the story is about the uestion at the heart of the anxiety Melinda and I saw that day how do you rebuild your life after prisonOur daughter Jenn recommended that we read this deeply moving story about how one incident of injustice reshapes the lives of a black couple in the South and eventually dooms their relationship Roy and Celestial are newlyweds living in Atlanta They seemed to have it all ood careers a decent house and a lot of love for one another although their marriage wasn t perfectThat all changes when Roy ets falsely accused of rape and sentenced to 12 years in prison Despite how radically this event changes their lives Jones doesn t spend much time on it She devotes only five pages to Roy s arrest and trial
Her message is clear Roy is innocent Celestial knows it and neither fact matters He s caught up message is clear Roy is innocent Celestial knows it and neither fact matters He s caught up the system regardlessWhat Jones is interested in is how incarceration changes relationships About half of the book is letters exchanged between Roy and Celestial while he s locked up Although they start out sweetly the letters become tense as time oes on Eventually Celestial stops writing to Roy altogether By the time he ets released from prison seven years early she s moved on I promise this isn L knows he didn’t commit Though fiercely independent Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored taking comfort in Andre her childhood friend and best man at their wedding As Roy’s time in prison passes she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center After five years Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned and he returns to Atlanta ready to re.
CHARACTERS Õ COURIERSINWOLVERHAMPTON.CO.UK ´ Tayari Jones25 starsI know this book is etting a lot of buzz and it was Oprah s Book Club pick so I had really high hopes but it didn t really work for me I started to A Little Dinner Before the Play give it 3 stars but after thinking on it I just couldn t For me a 3 star rating means that overall I enjoyed the book However this book just didn t rise to that level I ll start with what I did like I liked how the author weaved in the complexities of being a successful black American Roy was a rising business executive but because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and fit a certain description his lifemarriage was upended The first part of the book is in epistolary form where we see the letter exchanges between Celestial and Roy while he was prison In those letters you can see the slow changes in their relationship as time went on This is basically the only part of the book where I felt any semblance of a connection to the story Now for what I didn t like the characters I didn t connect to Roy or Celestial so I didn t feel invested in their story Also I understand that life and marriages can be messy and that some decisions we make aren t always cut and dry But some of the decisions that Celestial and Roy were making were nonsensical to me and not fully explained Particularly in Celestial s case toward the end of the book I didn t understand her Maybe I m missing something Overall I didn t have a strong emotional connection to the story I m sure many people will love this book but it wasn t for me Update 2018 National Book Awards Fiction Anotherreat choice pick this yearSMALL UPDATE I said I would come back and write a complete review but a few comments in here have inspired and encouraged me to perhaps leave this review alone So I ll only add a couple of things Sharing First it s funny what happens to our minds when we move on right away to reading other books after a deep thought provoking readIt s like ADDING children to the family expanding our heart to love and think about each one differently but each so special Recently it s been like a Mastering the Art of Saying No Without Feeling Guilty: Tips, Techniques and Strategies grand slam rocking hot reading explosion experienceIt started with The Weight of Ink by Rachel Radishwhich I still think aboutAnd THIS book which I still think aboutand now two others Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith and The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman BOTH of these two books I m currently reading are EACH SOO GOOD it s a race to the finish line as to which I ll finish first as I m now so deeply involved in ecstasy reading both books Listening to The Gunners during the day reading Fair and Tender Ladies at night and middle of the nightMy mind is swimming with wonderful feelings and thoughts and experiences ofreat created characters from our books Little friends in our headSo there are MANY VARIED REVIEWS on THE AMERICAN MARRIAGE I m only Yuganta, The End Of An Epoch going to add one final thoughtOpinion really I honestly believe there is something ofreat value in this book for women men married or single black white any nationality all legal adult ages young 20 s on up I mentioned in my little review that this book is a Once a Wicked Lady: A Biography of Margaret Lockwood great examination of marriageI ALSO think it s areat discussion whether or not to MARRY or NOT in this day and age There is something no spoilers to pay close attention to at the beginning of this book BEFORE MARRIAGEWe ve ALL had those experiences where our ut is Warning Us Something Doesn T Feel Right Our Souls Don us something doesn t feel right our souls don feel secure safe but then as thinking beings we ve intellectualized the situation and let it oonly later to kick ourselves for not taking the GUT MESSAGE serious There was a red flag moment in this storythat I knew was oing to come back to haunt and it did My heart ached at that momentThe ending of this book is also powerful and in my opinion clearly sends a messageNot only had every character been broken but culture conditions of injustice proved to be devastating too
EVERYONE WAS AFFECTED FROM THE HORRIFIC INJUSTICEbut Sadly Facing RealityWAS AFFECTED FROM THE HORRIFIC INJUSTICEbut sadly facing reality problems didn t et swept under the rug Small problems didn t Future Focus get replaced with bigger ones Brene Brown talks about learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable The American Marriage plays out those type of dialogues of communication Characters were practicing being comfortable with very uncomfortable communication Truthful dialogue surfaced through letters Later face to faceOriginal little review Phenomenal intimateut wrenching storytelling Every character has been wounded Their struggles are REAL faceOriginal little review Phenomenal intimate Major Problems in American Urban and Suburban History: Documents and Essays gut wrenching storytelling Every character has been wounded Their struggles are REAL I had empathy for everyone but I can understand if readers favor one character over another There are complex uncomfortable situations thro An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a 2018 Algonuin Books publication Well drawn characterizations and a thought provoking and timely topic combines to make a potent blend which kept me riveted to the pages of this book Roy had done everything right is successful married to a beautiful woman living the American dream until he is falsely accused of rape and sent to prisonCelestial finds her comfortable life turned on its axis after Roy is incarcerated She remains loyal to her husband but as the years pass her life continues to move forward while Roy s stagnates behind bars and her feelings for him begin to wane prompting her to seek comfort from another manMeanwhile lawyers are working round the clock toet Roy s conviction overturned which miraculously after serving five years it is But Roy soon learns that easing back into his former life and resuming his marriage with Celestial is easier said than done What stands out for me in this novel are the little nuances Roy who opens the dialogue in the first chapter drew me in with his honesty and humor which was occasionally sheepish and self deprecating even though I disapproved of some of his actions Celestial was for some reason a character I found difficult to warm up to at first but upon reflection I think her. Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South He is a young executive and she is artist on the brink of an exciting career They are settling into the routine of their life together when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestia. ,