[REVIEW] An American Marriage by Tayari Jones @OneworldNews

“But how you feel love and understand love are two different things.”

I’m sure we have all heard of An American Marriage either on social media or in newspapers, television etc. This book has become very widely known after being selected for Oprah’s Book Club and since then it has been religiously read by people. Prior to this I have seen a few of my blogger friends read and review this book which intrigued me and made me want to do the same thing.

An American Marriage evolves around Roy and Celestial a young, married couple whose lives are very good considering where they live but while on a trip to Roy’s parents house something terrible happens – Roy becomes involved in a rape case which eventually gets him sent to jail and sentenced to twelve years. Both Celestial and Roy know that he didn’t do it because they were next to each other all night, but in the eyes of the justice system that doesn’t matter and with the sentence the judge ruins both their lives. Being distanced from each other their lives are destined to change and Celestial falls for another man while her husband is in prison. This is all you need to know before starting this book.

I admit that I was sort hesitant to start An American Marriage because of the hype it got after Oprah’s Book Club chose it as their next read but I have to admit that even though it wasn’t what I expected it was a good read. I didn’t find any of the characters likable, except for Olive who I really liked, both Roy, Celestial and Andre are flawed, very flawed and have their own issues. I have to say that I love the way the author created Roy and Celestial because some of the things they said about each other were very deep, deep in the way that both characters really know each other and are very perceptive when it comes their physicality. While reading the book I wondered how in the world would the author wrap this complex situation and she did wrap it in an interesting way which was okay. Some actions of the characters weren’t to my liking and I wanted to scream at them to just say what they mean, just say it! The author shares the correspondence between Roy and Celestial and I love how she gradually introduced the distance which appeared in this situation.

An American Marriage is a tale of two people whose lives completely change after an incident gets one of them wrongfully convicted, from then on we see a marriage spiral out of control leaving both parties shaking.

I would like to thank the publisher (Oneworld Publications) for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Tayari Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage (Algonquin Books, February 2018). Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the NEA added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is currently an Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University.

Find her on: Website and Goodreads.

12 thoughts on “[REVIEW] An American Marriage by Tayari Jones @OneworldNews

  1. I’ve been seeing this around here and there too. It’s nice to hear some positive thoughts on it though. It would’ve have been sad if a book selected for Oprah’s Book Club were to be a massive disappointment. 😀 Great review, Nikola!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have also been seeing this one around. Really curious about the story-line specially with the wrongful conviction angle. Happy to see you say that it was a good read even if it didn’t quite meet your expectations. Great review Nikola.


  3. Wonderfully written review! I actually just started reading this one for my book club. I was initially hesitant picking it up because, like you mention, all the hype it has been receiving from being on the Oprah list but so far so good! I love the alternating narrators and the fact that the form of narration jumps back and forth between letter form and prose – very creative. I find the storyline refreshing because it’s not simply a disastrous love triangle but deals with extremely relevant issues of today like racism and corruption.
    Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your take on it and I look forward to more of your posts in the future… happy summer reading! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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