Wednesday, May 1, 2019

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This is a new to me author, and I plan on reading more of her work. Tayari Jones is an excellent storyteller. I listened to the audio version of An American Marriage and felt like I was watching a movie in my head. Her words paint images that come alive for the reader.

An American Marriage was published in 2018.

Blurb from Barnes and Noble: 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 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 profoundly 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 deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.

I liked that this story shows what it is like to be Black in America today. I didn't particularly like the main characters. They are flawed and very real, but I liked their stories. Roy senior was my favorite character from this novel. He was a wonderful father to Roy and his scenes with Andre toward the end of the novel are incredibly well written.

I liked Celestial's career of making dolls and could imagine them in detail.

I liked that Roy stayed true to who he was. He had many good qualities; he was a flawed human, but he was not a rapist. I liked that he tried to get into the head of his accuser and see things from her point of view. I found his relationship with his roommate in prison fitting.

I found his mother's illness heartbreaking. So much of this story is heartbreaking. I think the ending was fitting considering Roy's character.

I like Tayari Jones style of writing and am glad I learned of her work. This is a book that will stay with me.

Read to a child today even if that child is you.

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

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