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An American Marriage (Oprah's Book Club): A…
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An American Marriage (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel (edition 2019)

by Tayari Jones (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0902333,501 (3.9)219
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.… (more)
Member:CarolKub
Title:An American Marriage (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel
Authors:Tayari Jones (Author)
Info:Algonquin Books (2019), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Read, USA

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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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» See also 219 mentions

English (238)  Dutch (1)  All languages (239)
Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
I liked the structure of this novel, hearing from the three different characters, Celestial, Roy and Andre. I also liked the letters and emails between them. The underlying story of inequality within the US justice system is terrifying. What I found difficult to grasp was some of the language. The US University system is different to ours in the UK and there were whole paragraphs about pledging and flats that I read two or three times and was none the wiser. I think my lack of knowledge about black African American culture kept me at a distance from the characters and I never really felt what they were going through. A glossary would have been helpful but am interagency read. ( )
  CarolKub | May 14, 2022 |
A thoughtful and very engaging political novel about the marriage of a black couple in modern America. I didn’t love it as much as some, but I did take a lot from it. ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
Ended up skimming the middle section because I didn't really care for the characters and didn't feel I was getting to know them very well. Also their voices were all pretty much the same. The best part was the letters between them. ( )
  bobbieharv | Mar 15, 2022 |
The writing is pretty good. Reminds me a little of Toni Morrison because they both write about the plight of Black people using a poetic narrative. The plot is interesting: Husband and wife have been married for one year when the husband is put in jail for something he didn't do. He was sentenced for 12 years. After three years of this jail time, the wife saw their lives as too different for her to be committed to this relationship, so she wanted a divorce. In the meantime the wife has started a successful business and begun dating her childhood best friend. The husband was very hurt by all this. After the husband's jail time ended, he went to his wife and sought reconciliation. And then comes the pinnacle of the story which I won't give away.

The story was told through the points of view of the husband, the wife, and the wife's new boyfriend. They were three very unlikable people. The wife and her boyfriend were extremely skilled at making excuses for their betrayal to the husband. They kept saying they are not bad people, it's not that simple.....all kinds of excuses. One very ridiculous excuse (in my eyes), was the wife saying since they had only been married for a year, they didn't have a strong foundation for their marriage. So she could not be expected to stay loyal to her husband during his time in jail. What on earth?! And the boyfriend repeatedly said in his monologue that he had a right to happiness too, and if he were not with the wife his heart would be broken.....etc. What?!!! Another excuse given by the wife's mother, was that her daughter "knows her own mind." .....?!!! I lost count of how many times I paused in the middle a passage thinking how I couldn't believe people can rationalize their bad behavior. The husband was not a great guy either. He was a selfish person and often treated his wife unkindly. And he was unfaithful to his wife (as well as disrespectful deceptive toward the woman with whom he had an affair.) I think this story will be more interesting and thought-provoking for a reader who does not uphold strong moral values about being faithful to your marital spouse. And perhaps that's why this book got long-listed for the National Book Award. ( )
  CathyChou | Mar 11, 2022 |
Tayari Jones creates a vivid, detailed world, and rich, well-crafted characters. A difficult book to read, but so well-written with beautiful prose. This follows the heartbreaking journey of Celestial and Roy, whose marriage is upended after Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. With their young relationship already on shaky grounds, can it survive years of separation? When Roy is unexpectedly released early only to find Celestial has found comfort with Andre, a childhood friend, it becomes even more complicated. I loved this especially because Tayari Jones did not shy away from difficult issues. It was complex, very difficult to read at times, and emotionally honest.

Trigger Warnings: rape, abortion, violence

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader. ( )
  KatKinney | Mar 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jones, Tayariprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crisden, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, EisaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Godwin, SteveDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miceli, JayaDesignersecondary 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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. 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.

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