Updated: Sep 5, 2020
This is definitely in my top 3 books of 2018. Talk about an emotional roller-coaster !! What. a. book.
So I first came across this book while scrolling through Insta on Oprah's page for her book club, y'know I gotta follow all my celeb books clubs! She absolutely loved this novel and raved about how amazing it was. I happened to be staying at one of my girlfriend's house over the weekend and she had this book. So I gave myself the ultimate challenge to try finish it in a day before I left, and I totally did. So did she btw! We both read it in a day. Like it's that good.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones follows a young newly married couple Celestial and Roy, they live in the south in the sort of hip part of town. It's an up and coming area and they're pretty much the perfect example of a young, dynamic all American married couple. Celestial is an aspiring artist on the cusp of discovering her exciting future career, and Roy is a hard working executive. They have great lives, they're very much in love and they're just settling into their new married lives together. Out of the blue, Roy gets arrested for a crime no one believes he committed. He gets sentenced to 12 years in prison which completely turns their world upside down. While Roy tries to hold on to their marriage while imprisoned, Celestial begins to feel detached and adrift from Roy and seeks the comforting company of her childhood friend Andre. Who is also a close friend of Roy's and was best man at their wedding. The longer Celestial and Roy spend this time apart, the more she is unable to stay in love with Roy. After five years in prison, Roy gets some good news that he is now released from prison, and his conviction is overturned. He returns to his home in Atlanta ready to continue life as it was, but it turns out a lot has happened since Roy has been incarcerated.
I will leave it at that! (Don't want to be a spoiler)
This book was an absolute gripping, juicy, powerful, emotional read. Tayari Jones really knows how to tell an incredible story, that much is true. This novel goes to the core of a young marriage, loyalty, its complexities, and the relationship between these three characters. The way it unfolds is very realistic and relate-able. It delves in the past, present and future of their lives and makes you think of what you would do in such circumstances. It makes you think about love, human nature, passage of time, relationships and responsibilities. Even beyond that, it questions the American Justice system and racial based injustice in American prisons. It highlighted the fact that most cases like Roy's, would most likely happen to young black men. Which is very much true in most criminal cases in America, it's a sad problem that still goes on and I like that Tayari Jones shone a light to it. You felt for the real wives that go through this, their mothers, daughters and grandchildren. Even though the actual story is not about this, it was still great that she included it in the book.
An American Marriage is told from the points of views of Andre, Celestial and Roy which I loved. It's funny because you don't particularly love all of the characters and their characteristics but after knowing their story, you don't mind that they're unique in their own right. It's a stellar written novel and it will keep you wanting more! I could not put this book down and was hanging on every single word. You really did not know where the book was headed. From beginning to end it keeps you gripped all the way through. I was totally emotionally drained after it but was so worth it. It's written very well, not a single sentence goes to waste, and is easy to read. I HIGHLY recommend this book. Couldn't say that enough. It's so good that I'm going to read it again when it comes out in paperback. #memories
Gotta say the cover is absolutely gorgeous! And love the title of the book too. Very fitting for the story. Shout out to Nicole for letting me read her precious hardcopy. xo
Oprah- you sure know how to pick em !
Tayari Jones- you are amazing.