Review of American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Told from the point of view of three main characters: Celestial, Roy and Andre. Roy and Celestial met in college and get married after. Andre and Celestial grew up together and have known each other since the age of three. Celestial goes to the same college as Andre and he ends up introducing Roy to Celestial. One year into their marriage, Roy is convicted for a crime he did not commit. Will their young marriage survive this?

In its own subtle way, the story has its twists and turns as events that unfold in front of these three main characters are beyond their control.  I love how the author introduces incidences that have a major impact on their lives. While Roy was in prison, I loved how they would communicate through writing letters. In my view, I got the feeling that it helped them get to know one another since their marriage was still young. It also helped the reader understand what each of the characters was feeling, and truly empathize with them. It got me thinking how we take things for granted.

Roy had an interesting relationship with both his fathers and they both had a great impact in his life. At some point I was beginning to get comfortable with Roy and Celestial’s marriage will he was in jail. I even felt that it made the marriage stronger. However, the author had different ideas. There were unexpected twists and turns. What I was hoping for certainly did not come to pass.

American Marriage brought to fore the reality of a broken family. It analyses issues of race, marriage, class and gender.

Favourite quotes

These quotes really stood out for me while reading the book.

A woman needs Jesus, a job and a husband

Even while she wore his ring, she wasn’t his wife. She merely was a married woman.

About the book

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, 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 centre. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.


3 thoughts on “Review of American Marriage by Tayari Jones

  1. Thanks Diana, it was one fascinating read that kept unleashing suprises as you read along. I think you will enjoy it.

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