Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Title: An American Marriage

Author: Tayari Jones

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: One World Publications

The Blurb

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 struggles to hold on to the love that has been her centre. When his conviction is suddenly overturned, he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward – with hope and pain – into the future.

The Review

Recently, An American Marriage won the Women’s Prize award. I had all of the shortlisted books but hadn’t made my way through them all. I decided to read An American Marriage after it had won and after having read some of the other fabulous shortlisted books you can see why this book managed to scoop the prize.

It is the story of Celestial and Ray. A newly married couple who are put through testing times when Ray is wrongly accused of a crime that he did not commit. It is about how marriage works, how individuals can struggle becoming a unit, and it is about the power of long lasting love.

I found myself having a very strong and negative reaction to the character Celestial. I disagreed with her choices and I found myself getting angry at her, believing her to be: petulant, spoilt and disagreeable. However, what is great about this story is that I believe that people coming from different backgrounds, different ages, and different marital status’ will all have different reactions. In my opinion, that is essentially what makes An American Marriage by Tayari Jones a great book.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is available now.

For more information regarding Tayari Jones (@tayari) please visit

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