“There are two kinds of people in the world, those who leave home, and those who don’t.”
Genre: Domestic Fiction
Published: January 29, 2015
Rate: 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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 Celestial 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 resume their life together.
This 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 future.
There are certain books that you read that end up staying with you forever. An American Marriage is one of those books for me. I read it last October and I still vividly remember it all.
Tayari Jones takes us through the life of Roy and Celestial, and how they’re torn apart due to Roy being at the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up being imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. An American Marriage shows how terrible America’s incarceration system is and especially how bad it is for black people.
“People have a lot of things to say when they don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, up under the covers, and between night and morning.”
I appreciate the multiple point of views of the characters because it gave me, the reader, an understanding of what is going on through their minds. And to be honest, it was heartbreaking as it was intriguing. The justifications of some of the actions taken, especially by Celestial, left me so angry. My goodness the emotions this book took me through were a lot.
Tayari Jones is an evocative writer and wonderful story teller. The first part of the book is epistolary, written in form of letters, and you can slowly see the changes that happen, which result to something bigger. The second part is in gripping prose, one that is vulnerable and tells of a different life and time. It was harrowing. I love how family relationship and love is explored in this book, in a way that left me wrapped up in and with the characters.
I love this book so much and recommend it to anyone who will listen. It’s one of my all time favourite reads and I don’t say that lightly. Read it if you haven’t.
Have you read An American Marriage? What did you think about it?