Book Review – An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

 An American Marriage
Author: Tayari Jones
Publish Date: February 6, 2018
# of Pages: 320
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Buy it*: Amazon


(From Goodreads) 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.


Rating (1-10, 10 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing – 8
Pace – 8
Plot Development – 8
Ending – 7
Characters – 8
Enjoyability – 10
Ease of Reading – 9

Overall Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a stunning tribute to a marriage under pressure. When a man is wrongfully accused and thrown in jail, can his marriage survive the test of time?

I really enjoyed this novel, and I’m thankful that this novel was a Book of the Month selection—I may not have read it otherwise! This book covered some tough topics and sheds light on what it’s like being an African American man living in the United States. Wrongfully accused and wrongfully jailed, Roy bides his time behind bars, throwing his prayers behind getting an appeal and the steadfastness of his wife.

This novel was beautifully written. It follows the perspectives of Roy, his wife Celestial, and his friend Andre. The perspective shifts were seamless and helped to progress the storyline. It was hard not to sympathize and relate to each character. They all go through hard times and react to their situations differently. Parts of the book were heartbreaking, some happy, and others hopeful.

The pacing of the novel was perfect for the story. It never felt rushed or slow. The plot unfolded naturally, and it was a treat to follow. I nearly read this book in one day (and would have, if not for my kids!)

The ending was bittersweet. I’m not sure how I wanted the story to end, honestly. Suffice to say the ending felt very raw and real. How much can a marriage withstand? What makes people grow together, and what makes people grow apart?

The characters in this book are breathtakingly vivid. The author did an amazing job of capturing the emotions in the story. The pain, the heartache, the betrayal—all of it felt so crisp and real. Roy, Andre, and Celestial are captivating characters, and you can’t help but become emotionally invested in their lives.

If you’re looking for a novel with a little grit and a lot of passion, check this book out.


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Have you read An American Marriage? What did you think about the way Roy was treated by the law and his family? Were you satisfied with the ending?

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