Title: An American Marriage
Author: Tayari Jones
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young business 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 suddenly ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined when, while visiting Roy’s parents int heor small Louisiana town, Roy is arrested for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit.
Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and Roy’s best man wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. When, after five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together, Celestial is faced with a soul-wrenching decision; whether to let go or to try to rebuild a marriage that has lost its underpinnings.
This stirring love story is an insightful look into the hearts and minds of there people who are at once bound and separated by forces their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate like into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward — with hope and pain — unto the future.
MY. HEART. BROKE. IN. EVERY. WAY. POSSIBLE. Every time I read a page my heart was cracking a little more. Roy is accused of rape and is wrongly incarcerated, Celestial knows that her husband didn’t do it because he was with her the entire night. The book is broken into three different parts – the first part was letter exchanges between Roy and Celestial, “Dear John”. In the letters, you can see how their marriage is falling apart and growing distant. Apart from reading from the views of Roy and Celestial, you get to read the book in the eyes of Andre, Celestial’s best friend.
There were times where I was furious and annoyed with Celestial and Andre, even Roy. I was mad that Celestial for not being truthful with Roy from the beginning and Andre for not coming forward either. As I kept reading, I understood the reason why they made those decisions and their feelings, but I still felt so bad for Roy. Roy’s situation was unfair and unfortunately, it is something that happens in real life — being wrongly accused and incarcerated for years.
As you keep reading, the book becomes heavier, there is a part where you see how Roy has changed once he is released. The psychological aspect of how a person changes and comes back out to nothing after they work so hard to have everything. Jones drew well thought out characters, that fell well with the flow of the story with character development and growth. This book reminded me of another book I read called Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. This centers around the true story of Bryan Stevenson who defends the poor, wrongly accused, women and children that are stuck in the legal system. This book helped me understand the judicial system and criminal justice reformation.
This book was heavy in many ways; sad and heartbreaking – I recommend reading this deep, touching and prominent book.