Literary Fiction by People of Color discussion

222 views
book discussions > Discussion: An American Marriage

Comments Showing 1-50 of 110 (110 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1 3

message 1: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
If anyone would like to lead the discussion for the August book of the month, An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones, please let me know. You can respond here or dm me. Thanks!


message 2: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2892 comments Mod
FYI - If your library system is a Hoopla subscriber- An American Marriage is available for download as an audio book or ebook.


message 3: by Adrienna (new)

Adrienna (adriennaturner) | 729 comments This time I had already read the book since I waited for it for quite some time with Oprah's Book Club. I'll be ready.


message 4: by Melyssa (new)

Melyssa (melyssa57) | 19 comments Beverly wrote: "FYI - If your library system is a Hoopla subscriber- An American Marriage is available for download as an audio book or ebook."
Thank you! I downloaded this book from Hoopla and devoured it in about 2 days! I can't wait for the discussion.


message 5: by Adrienna (new)

Adrienna (adriennaturner) | 729 comments Melyssa wrote: "Beverly wrote: "FYI - If your library system is a Hoopla subscriber- An American Marriage is available for download as an audio book or ebook."
Thank you! I downloaded this book fro..."


wow, two days.


message 6: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
It’s now August 1st and we start the discussion for An American Marriage by fellow group member, Tayari Jones.

I finished it months ago and enjoyed it immensely. Has anyone else read it? Are you currently reading it or plan to? What’s your thoughts on the author, her writing and how does this book compare to her previous books? Particularly interested in the comparison to Silver Sparrow.

Let’s discuss...


message 7: by Joelle.P.S (last edited Aug 01, 2018 03:26AM) (new)

Joelle.P.S | 65 comments I read this in May, within 2 or 3 days, because I found it gripping & heartwrenching & beautiful.
I have not yet read of her any other books. But I plan to. :-)


message 8: by Lata (new)

Lata | 293 comments This book was wonderfully written. I was pulled in immediately, and I ended up devouring it.


message 9: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 220 comments I read this one in March and I thought it was excellent. It was a 5 star book for me. I'm looking forward to discussions before I leave for a trip with no Internet mid-August.


message 10: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
Well, it seems pretty unanimous so far, the positive reception to the book. Did it take Oprah including it in her book club for you to read it. Was it her endorsement of the book that convinced you?


message 11: by Lata (new)

Lata | 293 comments Actually, my book club chose this one several months ago,, and we read this in May.


message 12: by Joelle.P.S (new)

Joelle.P.S | 65 comments I read the book before attending a Tayari Jones interview here in Melbourne. (She's amazing in person as well as on the page!)


message 13: by Arlene♡ (new)

Arlene♡ (locpressedbooks) | 24 comments Since two of the books clubs that I like to participate in are readings this book this month, I will definitely be reading now. I’m glad I picked it up when I did. I’m excited for it.


message 14: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I have read this book as well as her other three novels. She is, without a doubt, one of my favorite authors. I have followed her since she published Leaving Atlanta and I was a regular reader of her blog years ago. Even her blog posts were carefully written, informative and interesting, and she was always supportive of other African American authors. I think that I have attended more of her book readings than I have of any other author. I live in SW Atlanta where all of her books are set and I love the way that she writes about this part of town. I think that her books have grown stronger with each publication and I think that she took a giant leap with this one.

In other words I am a big, big fan.


message 15: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2892 comments Mod
I read An American Marriage several months ago so I am interested in reading the comments during the discussion period. I will probably not be commenting as I do not remember the details.

I do think this is the best book she has written and it is a timely topic affecting the AA community.


message 16: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
Discussion schedule:

Part One: Aug 4-10
Part Two: Aug 11-22
Aug 23rd entire book open


message 17: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 386 comments I read An American Marriage in March. I had read Sliver Sparrow prior to American Marriage and I really love her writing. I think I enjoyed reading Sliver Sparrow more but I really think her writing and themes are brilliant. It was an excellent read for me.


message 18: by Adrienna (new)

Adrienna (adriennaturner) | 729 comments I have not read her other work. Only American Marriage in May. I plan to check out Silver Sparrow. I have a copy somewhere.


message 19: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
Rebecca wrote: "I read An American Marriage in March. I had read Sliver Sparrow prior to American Marriage and I really love her writing. I think I enjoyed reading Sliver Sparrow more but I really think her writin..."

Same here, Rebecca. I liked them both but I preferred SS to An American Marriage. I just thought that story was so unique. Maybe the writing in Marriage is superior, to that I’ll agree.


message 20: by BernieMck (last edited Aug 03, 2018 05:53AM) (new)

BernieMck | 95 comments It definitely wasn’t Oprah’s endorsement that made me want to read this book. I stopped following her list, because too often I’ve ended up not liking her picks. In addition to hearing good things about this book, this is one of my other book club's selection for the month of August. So I'm basically killing 2 birds with 1 stone.


message 21: by Melyssa (new)

Melyssa (melyssa57) | 19 comments I wasn't aware this was an Oprah pick until one of my fellow book club members told me about it. She read it and enjoyed, then shared with me. I get quite a few ARC via my blog and don't often have time to read books that are on my own personal TBR list; however, after hearing my co-member rave about it, I carved out some time. I didn't need to carve out much time because it only took me two days to read it, which is really fast for me. I am still thinking about it - such a powerful message told through a beautifully written story. A solid 5-stars for me.

Having said, that I have enjoyed some of Oprah's picks like The 12 Tribes of Hattie, but I digress.

I had no idea Ms. Jones had a blog. I am going to have to go find it and start following!


message 22: by Adrienna (new)

Adrienna (adriennaturner) | 729 comments Yes I read the book because I am in Oprah's book club on Goodreads. Second reason is that I saw on an African American book club speak about the book via video. I reviewed while at work to see if it would be a good read on our catalog list for circulation, or book club read at work.


message 23: by Adrienna (new)

Adrienna (adriennaturner) | 729 comments Yes I read the book because I am in Oprah's book club on Goodreads. Second reason is that I saw on an African American book club speak about the book via video. I reviewed while at work to see if it would be a good read on our catalog list for circulation, or book club read at work.


message 24: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
The discussion starts today and runs thru Aug 10th for Part One.


message 25: by William (new)

William (be2lieve) | 1334 comments Mod
Hmmm...just can't win. I purposely don't put popular new books on the poll until 6 months after publication because so many members complained of not being able to acquire them from their local libraries or afford them new. But it seems that all were able to read this one months ago! Perhaps I'll shorten the wait to 3-4 months...


message 26: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I think that this one was an exception, Bill. Sticking with 6 months sounds good


message 27: by Danni (new)

Danni (dannifaith) Adrienna wrote: "Melyssa wrote: "Beverly wrote: "FYI - If your library system is a Hoopla subscriber- An American Marriage is available for download as an audio book or ebook."
Thank you! I download..."

I finished this book yesterday, and I loved it. It broke my heart and it won't leave my mind. Jones knows how to write a story that holds tension(s) without creating a clear victim and perpetrator.


message 28: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
Wilhelmina wrote: "I think that this one was an exception, Bill. Sticking with 6 months sounds good"

Yes, Wilhelmina, I agree. I think this particular book might be an outlier.


message 29: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
I love Pearl Cleage....words of wisdom. This from an interview in the Houston Chronicle:

Q. Why the title, "An American Marriage?"
A. You know it's funny, titles have never been my strong suit so I'm used to working with my editor at the end of the project to get a title. I said jokingly, "We should call it 'An American Marriage' because whenever you have the word, 'American,' it makes it sound like it's important.

Q. You still weren't sold on the title, so what made you change your mind?
A. I told my editor, 'An American Marriage,' sounded like a novel about some white people in Connecticut experiencing feelings. He said, "Connecticut is a really small state so why do you feel that what happens in Connecticut is more American than what happens to your characters?" It was really because I had never heard myself referred to as 'American' without, 'black' or 'African' in front of the 'American.' When I heard the term 'American' generically I didn't think it pertained to me. I talked to my mentor Pearl Cleage, who was my teacher at Spelman College. She said, "You know we are Americans. This is our home. We built this country. Why can't we claim it? And the things that happens to your characters are uniquely American. This is a uniquely American prison system. It's not the fact that Roy (the main character) goes to prison that makes these characters American. They are American because they are American." She was right.


message 30: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
Tayari would like you to read more books by black women:

https://electricliterature.com/read-m...


message 31: by Laurie (new)

Laurie Columbus wrote: "Tayari would like you to read more books by black women:

https://electricliterature.com/read-m..."


Thanks, Columbus. It is awesome to see the books she recommends based on who inspired her. I just read one of her suggested books, but I will have to check out the others.

I love that Electricliterature.com has begun to feature recommendations twice a month from women authors on 5 women writers who inspired, influenced or delighted (their words) them. I will definitely have to follow these features.


message 32: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments Just wondering what everyone's initial thoughts were about Celestial and Roy.


message 33: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2892 comments Mod
Wilhelmina wrote: "Just wondering what everyone's initial thoughts were about Celestial and Roy."

I felt that the marriage between Celestial and Roy was headed for them to split up/separate/divorce - those were the vibes I got from the first pages.


message 34: by Melyssa (new)

Melyssa (melyssa57) | 19 comments Beverly wrote: "Wilhelmina wrote: "Just wondering what everyone's initial thoughts were about Celestial and Roy."

I felt that the marriage between Celestial and Roy was headed for them to split up/separate/divorc..."


That's interesting, Beverly. I know they did argue quite a bit before his imprisonment, but I felt like they would have worked it out as their marriage matured. The sad thing is we will never know because of what was stolen from them. :-(

Personally, I didn't find Celestial to be that likable. I think her parents may have spoiled her a bit as she was growing up.


message 35: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2892 comments Mod
Melyssa wrote: "Beverly wrote: "Wilhelmina wrote: "Just wondering what everyone's initial thoughts were about Celestial and Roy."

I felt that the marriage between Celestial and Roy was headed for them to split up..."


I think that one of the themes here is what I call the "after the event affects" and how those who are associated with the "event" (in this case with the husband being imprisoned) expect those that were close to the "victim of the event" (in this case Roy) should act/behave. And how we (as a society/culture) react when others do not act/behave as we expect.


message 36: by Lata (new)

Lata | 293 comments Beverly wrote: "Wilhelmina wrote: "Just wondering what everyone's initial thoughts were about Celestial and Roy."

I felt that the marriage between Celestial and Roy was headed for them to split up/separate/divorc..."


So did I. Their early interactions didn't feel to me like they'd be able to stay together long term,


message 37: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2892 comments Mod
Melyssa wrote: "Beverly wrote: "Wilhelmina wrote: "Just wondering what everyone's initial thoughts were about Celestial and Roy."

I felt that the marriage between Celestial and Roy was headed for them to split up..."


I thought that Roy knew how to "guilt" Celestial when she was "unhappy" in the marriage. I am not saying that Roy's feelings were not genuine but he wanted to stay married to Celestial. I thought that the "image" and future that they each had for their marriage were different.

I read this book a while ago so do not want to say much as we are just at the beginning of the discussion for book and I don't remember what happened when.


message 38: by Acara (new)

Acara (beautifulones) | 2 comments Am I the only one who wasn't thrilled by this book? For me it was a well-written book about characters I never grew to like. I certainly had sympathy for Celestial and Roy's situation, but I couldn't move past the way their personalities rubbed me the wrong way. This is likely due to my very personal biases (they, Roy especially, reminded me of people I know), but that impression didn't allow me to fully enjoy the story.

Melyssa wrote: "Beverly wrote: "Wilhelmina wrote: "Just wondering what everyone's initial thoughts were about Celestial and Roy."

I felt that the marriage between Celestial and Roy was headed for them to split up..."


The marriage was still pretty new. I felt like they were still just finding their way. Marriage isn't always easy.


message 39: by William (new)

William (be2lieve) | 1334 comments Mod
Leola Ailene wrote: "Am I the only one who wasn't thrilled by this book? For me it was a well-written book about characters I never grew to like. I certainly had sympathy for Celestial and Roy's situation, but I couldn..."

I was underwhelmed...but I have no specific problems with it..although it seemed a bit saccharine..like a lifetime movie. Roy and Celestial's cute meet in NYC and his subsequent rescue of his damsel in distress...Chasing the burglar and of course she then fell hopelessly..eck


message 40: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I loved Celestial because she is absolutely not a strong Black woman. She isn't even close. I started out thinking that she was spoiled, but I actually think that she's just a fragile person. And she's trying to own what she can manage as best she can. You have to be a little bit brave to do that.


message 41: by Lata (new)

Lata | 293 comments I liked Celestial. I didn’t feel she was spoilt; rather, she was raised with love. I think she was self-protective.


message 42: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
I wonder if Jones work is overlooked by critics and others at times due to a writing style that’s not steeped in figurative language ie... no complicated metaphors, similes and such. To some maybe a glorified romance genre. Is that fair to her? Is that necessary to be included in a “modern canon.”


message 43: by Lata (new)

Lata | 293 comments Jones’ style isn’t steeped in metaphor, and I think that she’s a skilled and good writer, conveying complicated feelings and motivations in a very readable style. No doubt, her work could be looked down at by people who want the complicated stylings of some other writers. I tend to admire writers who write concisely and don’t dress up their prose for dressing’s sake.


message 44: by Rebecca (last edited Aug 09, 2018 09:52AM) (new)

Rebecca | 386 comments I think along the same lines as you Wihlemina. For me Celestial impressed me. Rather than thinking she was spoiled I thought she was just aware of her privilege but I didn't think she was bragging about it. I felt like she was more grateful in a way.

@ Columbus I think so she is defiantly no Toni Morrison but for me I still find her writing very moving compelling. But I do think it is more readily to see and is seen as more profound in works by Toni Morrison. That is a shame to me.


message 45: by Melyssa (new)

Melyssa (melyssa57) | 19 comments Wow. I've hit a note with the term spoiled.

Celestial was never satisfied. When Andre was interested, she wasn't. Then, while Roy was imprisoned, so she ran back to Andre. (I'll stop there so as not to continue discussing too far into the book.) Overall, I found her personality very sophomoric - always wanting what she couldn't have. Having said that, I do think I would have viewed her more positively had she began a relationship with someone totally new.

I found her character to be weak, and I don't think she had many redeeming qualities.


message 46: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 220 comments @Columbus I would say that the Toni Morrison comparison is unfair to many authors of color. This is true in the YA publishing world as well. Popular genre authors who are white can write less than literary work and be popular, but it takes something more to break through for authors of color. It’s definitely unfair. I saw some improvement over my time working as a librarian, but it’s still an issue in YA and Adult books.


message 47: by Donna (new)

Donna | 3 comments Melyssa wrote: "Wow. I've hit a note with the term spoiled.

Celestial was never satisfied. When Andre was interested, she wasn't. Then, while Roy was imprisoned, so she ran back to Andre. (I'll stop there so as ..."


I am 116 pages in, and I am bored to tears. I agree with you on this. The characters are not sympathetic, and Celestial remains largely unknown after all these pages. So far I find her whiny and wishy-washy. I am not invested in any of them, but will continue to plod along to get it read for my book club.

Underwhelmed.


message 48: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2892 comments Mod
Columbus wrote: "I wonder if Jones work is overlooked by critics and others at times due to a writing style that’s not steeped in figurative language ie... no complicated metaphors, similes and such. To some maybe ..."

I would not say that Jones work is overlooked by "critics" per say - in light that a general statement can be made that Black writers are often overlooked and the criteria is often higher and harder to get recognition.

Tayari Jones' work has won awards, she is respected in her profession and has a dedicated following.

The reasons you stated for liking her writing is why she has a dedicated following, but as I like to say - every book is not for everybody but every book is for someone.


message 49: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2892 comments Mod
Melyssa wrote: "Wow. I've hit a note with the term spoiled.

Celestial was never satisfied. When Andre was interested, she wasn't. Then, while Roy was imprisoned, so she ran back to Andre. (I'll stop there so as ..."


My initial word for Celestial was also spoiled but after reading your comment I am thinking now having a "privileged" attitude along with a somewhat shelter/protected upbringing.

But as much as I did like Celestial - I do know people like her so in that sense she was "realistic".

There were many times I just wanted to "shake her".
But she really did not know who she wanted to be or what she wanted but just did not take time to know herself.

I too thought - why didn't see get with someone she didn't know/Roy didn't know/her family didn't know.


message 50: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3922 comments Mod
In so many ways, particularly the love triangle aspect, Leesa Cross-Smith’s book, Whiskey & Ribbons reminded me of this. I enjoyed this one more.


« previous 1 3
back to top