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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
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An American Marriage

by Tayari Jones

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
I can’t say this is one of my favorite reads, but I think it’s purpose isn’t to be enjoyable, lighthearted reading. The story is difficult and messy, the characters are real and flawed, and circumstances beyond their control change the trajectory of their life and all the lives around them. There were parts I felt were a little slow or superfluous but on the whole the story was moving, sad, upsetting, disappointing and believable. This fictional glimpse into how one family is destroyed by being black at the wrong time and place addresses systemic and deep-rooted racism in this country in a way that isn’t heavy-handed. The story is told from multiple points of view which lends to empathy for each person, no one is right or wrong in their feelings.
I am constantly ashamed how our country treats people of color and I think if more people read (and write!) books like this we can all be more open and accepting. ( )
  justjoshinreads | Mar 22, 2019 |
There was not a single believable word that emerged from any of the characters throughout the 300 pages of this soapfest. Worse, though, each of the POV characters narrating the Hallmark Romance plot is pretty much a terrible person. Not one of them is able to generate even the tiniest dribble of empathy for another as they stumble around explaining and re-explaining how tough life has been for them... for them and no one else.

There are some genuine issues here, fleetingly touched upon, like the unjust conviction and incarceration rates of African American men and the burden of parenthood, but it's all brushed aside as soon as there's an opportunity for more self-pity and overwrought drama. Hopeless inauthentic tosh featuring unlikeable leads who believe that acting only in one's self-interest in any given instance is an admirable life choice.. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
This was a beautifully written book and the characters were well developed. However, the characters were almost too real with flaws that kept me from having anyone to root for. The story was very sad about what can happen to a marriage when a man is falsely accused and incarcerated. But the problem for me was the three main characters all made bad choices making their situation even worse. Although the author did a great job of showing their motivations, the problem was Roy went to jail when he and Celestial had only been married for one year. Had he not got to jail, they probably would have gotten divorced. But there is more guilt involved when your husband is in jail. But apparently not enough guilt not to cheat on him. But then the guy was flirting with other women through their first year of marriage and went straight to a woman's bed when he got out of jail so although I wanted him out of jail, I didn't necessary think he was a great husband. I probably liked Andre best of the 3 POV characters. But again, I don't believe in sleeping with a married person and worse, not explaining your actions when called on it by one of your good friends. I did think the book ended about as well as it could have. ( )
  christinegrabowski | Mar 11, 2019 |
I listened to the audiobook of this one, and finished it in one lazy day. Great story told from multiple POVs (heads up for you 2019 Popsugar participants). Overview: tragedy strikes newlyweds Roy and Celestial, in what is an all too familiar occurrence in America. At no fault of their own, their picture perfect life is set on a different course and brings up a number of interesting questions, and how false imprisonment punishes more than just the accused. I don’t know if I would have done what Celestial did, but at the same time - she and Roy are both in a very hard situation and marriages have dissolved before far less trying circumstances. At the core of this book is the very real social issue concerning African Americans being unjustly accused and incarcerated at a higher rate than other groups of people. The ending isn’t the happy ending the reader hopes for, but it is a happy ending none the less. ( )
  mcnerney82 | Mar 9, 2019 |
“How did we end up here? My key works, but you won’t let me in.”
Celestial and Roy are made for each other, even though their relationship is not without fights. But they always manage to get together again. Some issues are hot topics - their different backgrounds, their families, having a child - so they try to avoid them. But sometimes these things come up nevertheless and one evening, their quarrel escalates. Fifteen minutes should be enough to cool down. But these fifteen minutes will change their lives, their fates and all the dreams they had for their future together. Nothing will be anymore as it was the next morning.

Tayari Jones’ novel hits you like a hammer. You cannot read it without getting involved deeply and asking yourself the question: how would I react in their place? What I loved utterly was the author’s way of foreshadowing: telling you that a meteor was to crash their lives or that this was their last happy evening for a long time; this creates an almost unbearable suspense, you absolutely want to know what is going to happen and thus, you surely cannot put down the book.

All in all, the story is a quite unique ménage à trois. On the one hand, Celestial and Roy, wed for some months and still somehow at the beginning of their common life. On the other hand, there is Andre who has been a friend of Celestial since their days in kindergarten, who befriended Roy in college and who actually made them acquainted with each other. Long hidden feelings for Celestial can no longer kept buried when she is in need of a shoulder to lie on. Reading the story as it is, you cannot really blame anyone for what they do. It just happens, but it doesn’t make you really happy either. Especially when compared to their parents’ marriages: a deep affection that lasts over decades and that survives even the biggest crises.

Apart from this, the novel is also highly critical in several respects: the American legal system, the way blacks are still treated today and have to fight harder than others and also the question of what makes a man a man and a father a father. A lot of food for thought written in a light style which is full of splendid metaphors that I absolutely adored. ( )
  miss.mesmerized | Mar 4, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tayari Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Crisden, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, EisaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
What happens to you doesn't belong to you,
only half concerns you. It's not yours. Not yours only.
-------------Claudia Rankine
Dedication
For my mother's sister, Alma Faye,
and for Maxine & Marcia, my own
First words
There are two kinds of people in the world, those who leave home, and those who don't.
Quotations
But home isn't where you land; home is where you launch. You can't pick your home any more than you can choose your family. In poker, you get five cards. Three of them you can swap out, but two are yours to keep: family and native land.
She pulled away and walked to my bedroom and closed herself in with a little click of the knob. I could have pursued her. A paper clip could best the catch, but when a woman shuts you out, picking the lock won't let you back in.
You don't know what you need until somebody gives it to you exactly the way you need it gave.
It matters that I didn't grow up with my father. It's kind if like having one leg that's a half inch shorter than the other. You can walk, but there will be a dip.
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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. They are settling into the routine of their life together, when 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.… (more)

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