Evie Braithwaite's Reviews > An American Marriage

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arc, contemporary, fiction

“When I first started calling you Georgia, it was because I could tell you were homesick. Now I call you that because I’m the one missing home and home is you.”


‘An American Marriage’ is a powerful story of love, loyalty, and injustice driven by beautiful prose.
I’ve read a few books which discuss racial inequalities and the injustice of the US legal system. Anyone can be wrongly convicted. However, the sad reality is that juries are more likely to convict a black man than a white man.

In ‘An American Marriage’, Jones provides a social commentary on race. However, at the forefront lies an exploration of injustice itself and the effects it has on relationships of all forms. To achieve this, she has created a cast of characters so rich and fleshed out that I forgot that they were fiction. The hardships they face are real, and Jones sheds light on the poignant reality which hundreds of black Americans experience every day.

The novel focuses on the newlywed couple, Roy and Celestial, who are torn apart by circumstances out their control. Roy is accused and convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. As a result, their marriage is challenged as they are forced to undergo a test of loyalty.

The story jumps from alternating first-person perspectives to an epistolary section during Roy’s time in prison. As the years pass by, the letters become less frequent, feelings change, and Jones makes us consider whether loyalty can always be expected in a marriage.

There was a seamless shift in perspectives. Roy, Celestial, and lifelong friend Andre were all interesting and by the end, I didn’t know who to sympathise with. They all made their own mistakes. They were all flawed. But, they were all real.

An American Marriage explores how the unjust legal system impacts not only those who are wrongly accused but how it marks everyone around them. It affects the newly wedded wife, the widowed father, lifelong friends. They’re suddenly forced to confront hardships they never anticipated. Jones succeeds in portraying the far-reaching impact of racial injustice and it was outstanding.
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Reading Progress

February 26, 2018 – Shelved
February 26, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 14, 2019 – Started Reading
January 14, 2019 –
11.0% "Can't wait to get started with this one, it made it onto so many 2018 favourite lists 📖"
January 17, 2019 – Finished Reading
January 18, 2019 – Shelved as: arc
January 18, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary
January 18, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction

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