Review of An American Marriage

I first heard about An American Marriage by Tayari Jones through my Book of the Month membership, and even though I picked another book for my February box, I went ahead and reserved a library copy--before Oprah made it a book club selection.

Roy and Celestial are newlyweds when Roy is accused, tried, and convicted of a crime that he didn't commit. Roy goes to prison, losing almost everything except Celestial and his parents, while Celestial goes home to figure out what the next twelve years of her life will look like. I had no idea what was going to happen or how the characters would be shaped by this experience.

I really want to talk about this with someone, because I have way more questions than actual articulated thought on the book. Jones examines the theme of possession and ownership, especially regarding women and marriage.

What is right and wrong and what is neither right nor wrong?
What is fidelity, and how far do fidelity vows extend?
Is anyone in a marriage or relationship ever entitled to anything? If so, what?
Are there some circumstances just that: circumstances that aren't the fault of any one source?

Even though this book tackles some serious issues, I sped through it. I couldn't get enough of Roy and Celestial. I'm still thinking about it, and I would be shocked if it didn't pop up on an awards nomination list or two by the end of the year. I enjoyed this enough to want a copy for myself.

Have you read this hot new release? What did you think?

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


  1. I loved this book. I couldn't put it down! Time went by so fast when I was reading it because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. One of the things that was most interesting to me was how I would think, "I can't believe Celestial is doing that." Then two chapters later I would think, "But they were only married for 1.5 years. I understand why she did that." Every character was like that for me. Definitely a good read.

    1. I was the same way! I really understood the complexities of their situation and didn't know how they were going to resolve anything. I loved it, and I loved the ending.


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