“Marriage is between two people. There is no studio audience.”
Breathtaking, complex and brilliant: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones was just as good as everyone says it is – believe the hype! I know you don’t need me to recommend this book after Oprah all but shouted it from the rooftops, but I’ll recommend it anyways.
Roy and Celestial are newlyweds: in love, on top of the world, rich and successful already and still just starting out with their whole lives ahead of them when one night, in a twist of fate, that all changes when Roy is accused of a crime he didn’t commit and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Thrust in to a separation neither of them chose, their trust and loyalty are challenged in a way that would threaten even the strongest of bonds. Their story is told separately through narration and also the letters they send to each other throughout this time.
While the story itself was enough to hook me, it was Jones’ writing that kept me wanting more; never have I read something so lyrical and poetic while continuing to be easy and enjoyable. Celestial and Roy were raw and so real to me, their love recognizable and authentic. Their intimate story is told separately through narration and also the letters they send to each other which is a feature of this book that I absolutely loved – An American Marriage is contemporary storytelling at its best!
I will say, never have I read a book so incredibly hyped at the moment I read it: Oprah just picked this one for her book club, Book of the Month Club had this in the February picks, it was the Belletrist February book pick as well! I was hesitant to pick this up, weary my hopes would be too high but it met and exceeded by expectations. I’d recommend this book to almost anyone – read it!