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An American Marriage

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  119,201 ratings  ·  12,540 reviews
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 know ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (first published January 29th 2018)
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Marla McQuay The book wasn't about the verdict... it's about relationships. It's about how tenuous relationships can be without adding what happened... it's…moreThe book wasn't about the verdict... it's about relationships. It's about how tenuous relationships can be without adding what happened... it's wondering if the end was inevitable without the middle.(less)
Susanna I would say that it's tragic because it shows life's injustice and the messiness of human relationships. However, it is not gratuitously melancholy…moreI would say that it's tragic because it shows life's injustice and the messiness of human relationships. However, it is not gratuitously melancholy like a lot of books--it's real and there's growth and hope.(less)
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  119,201 ratings  ·  12,540 reviews


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Emily May
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much of life is timing and circumstance, I see that now.

I know it's still early, but I've got a feeling this is going to be one of my favourite reads of 2018. It is a powerful, subtle, sad tale about the criminal justice system in America, and the personal, long-term consequences of its injustices.

There's a lot of discussion, articles and fiction looking at race-based injustice in the prison system of the United States. Most of these focus on racial-profiling of young black men, and how juries
...more
Meredith
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t say that I loved An American Marriage. What I can say, is that it made me think deeply about human nature, love, and, of course, marriage.

This is a thought-provoking, well-written, depth-filled character study about a marriage on the brink.


Celestial and Roy, a young couple from Atlanta, have been married for just over a year when Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years in jail. Will their marriage survive their separation or will they be able to withstand Roy’s incarceration? The b
...more
Ashley
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 02-star, 2018, library
2.5 stars

I know this book is getting a lot of buzz and it was Oprah's Book Club pick so I had really high hopes but it didn't really work for me. I started to give it 3 stars but after thinking more on it I just couldn't. For me, a 3-star rating means that overall I enjoyed the book. However, this book just didn't rise to that level.

I'll start with what I did like. I liked how the author weaved in the complexities of being a successful black American. Roy was a rising business executive but bec
...more
Larry H
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars, rounded up.



For the latest resurrection of her book club, Oprah chose Tayari Jones' latest novel, An American Marriage. Raw, powerful, full of searing emotion, this is a book which speaks not only to the relationship between man and woman, husband and wife, but it touches on the bond between parents and their children, even in adulthood, and the mercurial nature of life.

"Love makes a place in your life, it makes a place for itself in your bed. Invisibly, it makes a place in your body,
...more
Elyse Walters
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: 2018 National Book Awards: Fiction
Another great choice pick this year!!!


SMALL UPDATE: I said I would come back and write a more complete review... but a few comments in here have inspired and encouraged me ... to perhaps leave this review alone.
So.., I’ll only add a couple of things.
Sharing First: it’s funny - what happens to our minds when we move on right away to reading other books after a deep thought- provoking read...
It’s like ADDING more children to the family - expanding our h
...more
Julie
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a 2018 Algonquin Books publication.

Well drawn characterizations and a thought provoking and timely topic combines to make a potent blend, which kept me riveted to the pages of this book.


Roy had done everything right, is successful, married to a beautiful woman, living the American dream- until he is falsely accused of rape and sent to prison.

Celestial finds her comfortable life turned on its axis after Roy is incarcerated. She remains loyal to her husban
...more
Brandice
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Is it possible that in mid-February I’ve already read my favorite book of 2018? An American Marriage was outstanding. Not only did I immediately become hooked and stay invested in the story, the quality of the writing was pure excellence.

A newlywed couple, Roy and Celestial, are early on in their marriage when Roy is sentenced to 12 years in jail for a crime he did not commit. This changes the course of their lives and feelings, and the story unfolds from here. Roy’s conviction is overturned 5
...more
شيماء ✨
This book stung so hard I almost looked for the cut of it on my skin.

Something about this story still puts a a choking whimper in my throat, so give me 3-7 business days to process my feelings and write a full review. I am genuinely feeling too hollowed out right now.
Diane S ☔
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roy has done the best he could with the life he was given. Now married to Celestial, a young woman with dreams of her own, are traveling to meet his parents for the first time. The visit will prove less than successful, and a terrible miscarriage of Justice will occur that will detail their young lives and marriage.

These are characters to that one wants to root for, wants things to turn out well for them. Of course, life seldom works that way, things change, circumstances beyond ones control int
...more
JanB
Edited 9/20 to add: My book club discussed this last night and while not everyone loved the book (but no one disliked it), it made for a lively and interesting discussion. I'd highly recommend for book clubs.

I’m afraid I’m in the outlier club with this one.

What I liked:
- The writing is gorgeous. 4-5 stars for the beauty of the prose. Plus the author writes in a way that sounds like the way real people think and talk
- The letters Celestial and Roy exchanged
- How one unfortunate tragic event, unf
...more
Debbie
One sock officially knocked off!!! (equals 4.5 rounded up up up!)

I look a little funny on my pogo stick (yes, this is a pogo stick kind of book) since I have just one sock on, but I have my reasons, really I do. The reason is that there was a slump for me in the middle of the story, so that one sock just held onto my foot like nobody’s business. But it was a short-lived slump, and the beginning and the end of the book are so insanely powerful, the other sock almost flew off my other foot. Since
...more
Lindsay - Traveling Sister
4 stars! This was a beautifully written, thought-provoking, slow burn novel that crept its way into my heart, settling deep within my bones. I will be thinking of these characters long after finishing this book.

This story follows Roy and Celestial, a young newlywed couple who have a passionate and impetuous relationship – loving deeply and arguing stubbornly. They are from different “worlds”, but have found an explosive love and connection with one another. Less than two years after getting marr
...more
Angela M
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

One of the things I liked the most about this novel is that a portion of the book is comprised of letters, mostly between Roy while in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and his wife Celestial. Letter writing seems like it’s from a bygone time and I never feel as if e-mail and certainly not texts adequately reflect the intimate picture of ourselves that a hand written letter does. This is not just about the intimate look at this one relationship, but it’s about their families and their pasts. O
...more
Ashley Gallegos
Feb 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot, for the life of me, understand why people like this book. If it weren’t for Oprah loving it, I honestly do not think people would buy it. There was no plot and it is the most boring book I’ve ever read. Basically if you read the synopsis, you’ve read all the “exciting” parts and know the entire plot. It’s technically an easy read but boring overall. I powered through to finish it since it has so many positive reviews, with the hopes that it would suddenly turn around or have an amazing ...more
Linda
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"I feel like I need and need and need and it's wearing a hole in the fabric."

Celestial and Roy's marriage is just breaking ground as a young seedling when the earth ravages the soil and the fissures play havoc with such gentle growth. Roy has been accused of a rape that he did not commit. His kindness to a down-and-out woman has spun around on him. No matter how many times that Celestial recants the story that Roy was with her all night, the court hears otherwise. Roy will serve his time....twel
...more
Kelli
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Nothing is ever over.

This was beautiful. This was a slow roil. A story told with realistic dialogue. A story littered with metaphors. A story sprinkled with wisdom.

I listened to the audio and it was sublime...so gorgeous were the cadence and rhythm that I was often mesmerized, wrapped up in the story and swept away by what felt like a foreign language and a different culture. Highly recommend. 4.75 stars
Tia
That ending...

Writing- 4 stars
Characters- 3 stars
Language- 3 stars
Plot/Concept- 2 stars

Ugh! Those people exhaust me. Only the parents and Davina were likable. Can't forget about the Uncle who helped Roy. I didn't like Celestial's mother either.
Barry Pierce
I decided to pick up An American Marriage because Tayari Jones has a fun instagram. Also in her By The Book in the New York Times she recounts that she once accepted a gig in Dubai just because the flight gave her nineteen uninterrupted hours of reading time. I love that. She seems like such a fun and likeable person. Therefore it really does hurt to write that An American Marriage savagely disappointed me.

The novel concerns a married couple, Roy and Celestial, who live a fairly normal life unti
...more
Justin
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of this book. This kind of thing would never really be on my radar anyway. I don’t read a lot of books about marriage, relationships, love, etc.

But, listen, when Oprah tells you to read something, you read it. That’s just how the world works.

I remember that fateful day, sitting on my couch, watching The Today Show or something like that. They kept teasing the big reveal of Oprah’s new book club book. Coming up right after the break. Coming up right after this. We will be right
...more
Cheri
”When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There's so much they hold

“And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

“I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up”

--”I Won’t Give Up,” Jason Mraz, Songwriters: Jason Mraz, Michael Natter


Roy is a young man living in Atlanta, born and raised in Eloe, Louisiana, but Atlanta is where he raised himself from b
...more
Susanne  Strong
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Compelling Stars.

Marriage, on its own is a complicated venture. Throw in anything else and Kapow! Everyone always says that first year of marriage is the hardest. For Celestial and Roy, nothing will prepare them for what is to come. Madly in love, they think they can conquer the world. Such wishful thinking. After being married for a year, Roy gets arrested for a crime he didn’t commit and is sentenced to twelve years in Prison. Twelve years. What a great start to their marriage. Initially, Ce
...more
karen
Feb 16, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
just a reminder that this list exists. i haven't updated it for 2019 because i have become overwhelmed by life's challenges, but perhaps it can be of use until i am better equipped to handle my shizz.

**************************************

it's probably far too late in the month to be of use to anyone making black history month displays, but i made this list over on riffle if anyone's interested, because even if you're not entrusted with display-making, it's a handy list of books for reading any m
...more
Liz
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2018

Celestial and Roy have only been married a bit over a year when he’s found guilty of a crime. Roy isn’t a saint. Celestial discovers he’s already cheated on her on their first anniversary. But he is innocent of the crime.

In the blink of an eye, they go from living “that Huxtable life” to Roy being in prison.

The author gets certain things exactly right, like being caught between a parent and a spouse. And how little we really know about our spouse when we go into marriage. Prison forces Celesti
...more
Karen
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 rounded up for this novel, an Oprah book selection! Oprah has never let me down with her book choices!

A terrible racial injustice has occurred that rips apart the marriage of a black couple, Roy and Celestial after only a year of marriage. The storytelling is stellar and the characters are just so real.
Very moving! Recommended!
PorshaJo
Rating 4.5

At the heart of this one is the story of Celestial and Roy. They are a young married couple with so much ahead of them. I would not say they had the perfect marriage or knew what marriage is really about in the beginning. They had money, good jobs, a promising life together, and then it was all shattered.

This is a in-depth story told from the point of view of both Celestrial and Roy and their friend, Andre. It also includes letters between them interweaving them into the story. Celestr
...more
Justin Tate
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The strongest writing I've read in a while. Witty in all the right places. Rich characters. The plot isn't ultra-memorable but I have the feeling it's going to haunt me the more I think about it. There's a lot of overt conflict, internal and external, but the ever-present social subtext is what makes it art. Glad I didn't miss it!
Erin
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erin by: La Tonya Jordan
Audiobook performed by Sean Crisden & Eisa Davis 9h

I really enjoyed the performance of these narrators as they breathe life into Tayari Jones' story. They definitely kept me riveted to my seat as the triple narrative between Celestial, Roy, and Andre unfolded. Given the title, the central story really is about this couple's marriage-their courtship and all that comes after. It was all the family relationships that convinced me this book was a solid 4 star rating. Oh and how I loved both B
...more
leslie hamod
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol (Bookaria)
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, fiction
A compelling and complex novel. I was captivated from beginning to end!

Roy and Celestial are young and successful, he is an executive and she is an artist. They have been married for 1 1/2 years when a life-changing event happens that will test their marriage. The book explores the meaning of marriage, love, sacrifice, and resilience in the face of injustice.

The story is narrated in alternating points of view and takes place (mostly) in Atlanta, Georgia.  The strength of this novel lies in its c
...more
Jessica Woodbury
If you can, read this without knowing anything about it. It won't be destroyed if you know the hook, but the first section will lose a bit of its grip and its grip is fantastic. (Yes, this includes the summary at the top of the Goodreads page. Sorry.)

This is a book about marriage and the very specific kind of loyalty it asks us to give. Is that loyalty a fair thing to ask? Is it right? What circumstances excuse breaking this bond?

Celestial and Roy face their own unique set of struggles and priv
...more
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3,847 followers
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 Co ...more
“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.” 78 likes
“Much of life is timing and circumstance, I see that now.” 51 likes
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