Celestial and Roy are a couple of newlyweds living the American Dream in Georgia. When Roy is falsely accused of raping a woman, he is sentenced to twelve years in prison. The readers are guided on an emotional rollercoaster through the holes in the American Justice System, being a POC in today’s society, as well as the hard work (and sometimes heart break) of marriage.
Wow, this book really shook me. An American Marriage is a beautiful and heart-wrenching love story, filled with all the emotional complexities that make up a marriage.
Tayari Jones weaves her narrative though a series of powerful letters written back and forth between the married couple after Roy is incarcerated. Immediately the readers are enveloped in the devastation brought upon these two through the use of Jones’s power of words and descriptions.
I immediately connected with Celestial. As an entrepreneur (who has a husband for a business partner), I could relate to the “working” dynamic between Celestial and Roy. She having a dream of creating a business out of her hobby and craft – and Roy wanting to give input and help where possible. I also connected with the couple when it came to deciding about having a baby. There seems to be this stigma in our society that says after you get married, you’re supposed to have a baby. My husband and I do not plan on having children and we are often judged by that decision. I felt a deep connection with Celestial as she battled this area of their marriage internally and externally.
HOWEVER, as much as I related to Celestial in ways, I haven’t got a clue to what it means to be a POC in this world. Jones depicts the racism and voices of POC with her raw prose. My heart felt like it was ripped out in moments and brought me to tears.
You will sit with this one for a while after reading the last page as Jones leaves the readers with a sense of reality over fiction. I enjoyed the multiple-point-of-view format of going between Celestial, Roy, and Jones’s third main character, Andre. An American Marriage is a beautifully written book for all to read.
Is motherhood really optional when you’re a perfectly normal woman married to a perfectly normal man?Tayari Jones, An American Marriage
PUBLICATION DETAILS: Algonquin Books; February 6, 2018; 308 pages; Fiction