An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Published: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Alongquin Books
Contrary to all of the hoopla surrounding this book and the rave reviews I read after reading it, I simply don’t agree with much of what has been said thus far. True indeed, the characters Roy and Celestial are thrust into the challenge of a lifetime and Roy, bless his heart, is dealt a tragically, unfair blow with his wrongful conviction. However, I don’t feel this is exceptionally good writing (good, yes) and actually think the author missed an amazing opportunity to highlight the prison industrial complex and how wrongful convictions have affected much of the African American community. I felt that the author focused more on how Celestial and those around her felt about Roy’s conviction as opposed to hearing from Roy himself. No one spends five years in prison and comes out totally unaffected. I wanted to hear more about that. Perhaps that’s what she intended, but as the reader I wanted more. I wanted to be moved. I wanted to inspired to action. I wanted to finish the book and immediately be compelled to tell everyone I know to read it, because it was life-changing. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel any of that and simply felt that there was so much more that should’ve been, needed to be, told.
As previously stated, yes, it was a good book to read. The author’s style is very contemporary, using language that is easily accessible and conducive to reading quickly. She doesn’t spend a lot of time on description or details, using letters to give us much of the background we need vacillating from one character’s perspective to the next. And the letters proved extremely helpful because there were so many questions that seemed to go unanswered. So if you read the book, pay very close attention when reading the letters.
Overall, I’d recommend it if not for anything else, but the subtle shot out to Atlanta and the familiar spots that many of us are familiar with.
Places to see in Atlanta: The Beautiful Restaurant