An American Marriage

An American Marriage

A Novel

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781616208776
Characteristics: 308 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

“Until Death Do Us Part” or… until jail sets us apart – that’s a focal point of this well written, discussion-stirring novel by Tayari Jones. Celestial and Roy are a married couple, just one year into their love-filled relationship, doing well financially, planning for a child – when something unexpected happens and overturns their lives, sending Roy to prison for 12 years. Now, Celestial is at the cross roads and it seems like no matter what she chooses there is no joyful solution for either her or Roy. The first half of the book just zoomed by me; it was easy flowing and intriguing. The second half did slow down a bit, but it was still very good. The book touches on multiple subject matters including: racism, injustice, love & friendship, obligations, search for happiness. A good book for a book club discussion – evokes various feelings and opinions. (Submitted by Mariya)

Nov 23, 2018

A must read. Socio-political issues are the undertones of this book; however, the love stories and character development/growth is fascinating. It's a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride. The perspectives of all the characters make this a great read. I would like to see this book adapted into a movie.

Nov 20, 2018

Nytimes 2018 recommended book

Nov 16, 2018

Good story for an enlightening book discussion which offers the reader an opportunity to reflect on personal views about what defines a marriage, considering how friendships evolve depending on the current situation and how behavior can be affected by one’s relationship with parents.

DPL_Graham Nov 05, 2018

At the heart of “An American Marriage” is an old-school love triangle. The main characters are surrounded by mothers and fathers who have each come from unstable relationships: divorce, cheating, and love triangles of their own. With that setup, it is no wonder that the main stories love triangle is hard to watch and why the main characters all find themselves irrepressibly pulled towards unstable actions and conclusions.

An “American Marriage” starts off with a bang! In the first 40 pages character are born, married, fight over families, and then Celestial’s husband Roy is sent to prison for 12 years for a crime he didn’t commit. While Roy is in prison Celestial grows into a relationship with Dre, Celestial’s perennial “Friend Zoned” childhood bestie. The consequences leads into ugliness on all sides.

This is an easy read you can tear through in a few hours. The novel delivered entertaining reading and the characters and their decisions bounced through my mind afterwards – but my thoughts and feelings were of frustration at their unfeeling actions and lack of decisiveness. All of the main characters exhibit the ugly side of relationships and humanity and their string of bad decisions made them all very unsympathetic.

Author Tayari Jones was inspired to write this novel thanks to a chance encounter in an Atlanta mall where she heard a couple arguing. The line that stuck with her was the female saying: “You know you wouldn't have waited on me for seven years. And he said, I don't know what you're talking about. This wouldn't have happened to you in the first place.” This small moment in time was the seed that fertilized the growth of “An American Marriage.”

*An American Marriage is on the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Longlist

Oct 25, 2018

This book had me hooked from start to finish.

Oct 07, 2018

A masterpiece of storytelling!

Sep 26, 2018

This book was fantastic, and definitely worth all of the reviews. I really enjoyed the characters, and how unpredictable the story was, there were so many twists and turns, none of which I saw coming even to the end.

Sep 19, 2018

3.75 stars. The writing style is beautiful and soulful. The story is interesting and unjust but for me, not riveting. It is a sad commentary with difficult character dynamics. It was worth reading but not life altering. I know there is a lot of buzz and perhaps that is because the wording was a skillfully woven tapestry; Jones is an incredibly talented writer. But some of the hype may simply be because Oprah recommended it.

ArapahoeJessica Sep 04, 2018

What brings us together... and what tears us apart?

Complex, character-driven, and deeply personal. This story focuses less on the injustice of wrongful imprisonment and racism, instead examining the fallout. I can't say that I actually liked any of the characters, but they sure made me think!

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

Dec 06, 2018

wiseallison1 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MARINet

To Top