Book-cation Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Book: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Print Date: February 2018
Goodreads Score: 4 stars
Short Review: A captivating and sad story of the American justice system!
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.
Long Review: This was a book club pick that everyone was excited to read after being an Oprah Winfrey pick. This isn’t a genre that I normally browse for so I am always excited when the book club picks something like this for me to read. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting, but it ended up being nothing that I anticipated at all.
Celeste and Roy were both wonderful characters. You found yourself connecting to both and wanting the best for their relationship from the start. I personally liked Roy more than Celeste from the beginning, and this just continued to increase as the story went on. One character that I absolutely did not like was Andre. I will let you be the judge, but I feel he was the most deceitful in all of this because he missed his shot and then pounced when Celeste was at her weakest. What was great about this book was the way that the author choice to really introduce you to the characters. Just when you think you knew all their secrets and internal thoughts, more was revealed. She also did a wonderful job of writing it to wear while I really liked Roy, I found myself questioning if I should be blaming Celeste as much as I was. It was very intriguing to see how each character dealt with the adversity they were facing.
I especially liked the way the author chose to write the story from multiple people’s perspective. You were able to get a better grasp on each character by getting straight into their minds. I also loved the addition of the letters to each other where you could see the marriage falling apart on paper. While this was far from a happy read, it was so well written and you couldn’t help but keep reading in hopes that things would end the way you hope.
This book made for some amazing discussions during my book club meeting after we had all finished. It was interesting to see where everyone felt strongly about the same plot points, and while others we all interpreted slightly differently. Overall this is a well written and thought provoking story.
As I mentioned above the Book-cation location for An American Marriage is Atlanta! While the majority of this book was a sad read, I decided to pick some fun spots for the book-cation!
- High Museum of Art. This is a must on your stop to go along with this book. Celeste was an artist so this had to be the first stop on my list! https://www.high.org/
- Atlanta History Center. For all you history buffs out there add this stop to your itinerary. It is situated on 33 acres with several historic buildings. They also offer tours from here of historic homes in the area and goes through the Buckhead neighborhood. This is wear I imagine that Roy would have worked until retirement had things not gone so wrong.