Today we are going to talk about August’s book of the month, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. But first, let’s check out this book and see what it is all about.
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 knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
Questions to think about and/or answer:
- The title of this novel is “An American Marriage.” Do you feel this title accurately represents the novel? Why or why not? And if you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly “American”?
- Andre insists that he doesn’t owe Roy an apology for the way his relationship with Celestial changed. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- Roy is hurt when Celestial, in discussing her career as an artist, doesn’t mention him or the role he played in giving her the encouragement and freedom to follow her dreams, but Walter argues that she is justified in her silence. Do you agree? Do you think her silence is due to shame, or is she just being practical in how she presents herself to advance her career?
- Toward the end of the novel, Celestial does a complete about-face and returns to Roy. What do you think her emotions were in coming to that decision? Do you feel that it was the right decision?
(Questions issued by the publishers.)
“One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon . . . An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple.” —Barack Obama
“Tayari Jones’s wise and compassionate new novel, An American Marriage . . . is a clear vision of the quiet devastation of a family. It is beautifully written, with many allusions to black music and culture — including the everyday poetry of the African-American community that begs to be heard.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Powerful . . . The story . . . is both sweeping and intimate—at once an unsparing exploration of what it means to be black in America and a remarkably lifelike portrait of a marriage.”
—The New Yorker
“Compelling . . . spun with tender patience by Jones, who cradles each of these characters in a story that pulls our sympathies in different directions. She never ignores their flaws, their perfectly human tendency toward self-justification, but she also captures their longing to be kind, to be just, to somehow behave well despite the contradictory desires of the heart.”
—Ron Charles, Washington Post
Mocha Girls Speak
Mocha Girl D.E. Elliot
Okay… I may lose my black card on this one, and I hate to think Oprah is wrong about anything (because I love me some Oprah), but I was not feeling this book at all. As a writer
Mocha Girl Cheryl
Perfect story of love, family, trust and much pain. I love stories that are told in the first person, they appear much more personal that way. The characters spoke so well and their stories felt so real. People say two wrongs don’t make it right but in this story two wrongs did make it right. Husband and wife can stand in their truth and agree to divorce, stay friends and both lead blessed life’s. Honesty and communication is the key to every marriage, without it it’s the key to a disaster
Great book, great story, happy ending ☺
Audio Version. You picked a good one Oprah?
Mocha Girl Rachel
Mocha Girl Raging Book Reviews
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Algonquin Books; Reprint edition (February 5, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1616208686
Other Books by this Author
Click here to go to Tayari Jone’s Amazon page.
Mocha Girl Alysia
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