An American Marriage tells the story of newlyweds Celestial and Roy who come from very different backgrounds in the south. Both have worked very hard throughout their lives and Roy has found success in finance, while Celestial is an artist creating Poupées (dolls). Celestial has had the financial backing of her parents, while Roy comes from humble beginnings. Only a year and a half into their marriage something unthinkable happens. Roy is sent away to prison for a crime they both know he didn’t commit. While Roy is serving his sentence, they both struggle to navigate their marriage and stay connected. Suddenly five years into his sentence, Roy’s conviction is overturned. He struggles to find his way back to Celestial, who has seemingly moved on with none other than Roy’s dear friend. We watch Roy as he tries to embark on this journey of life after everything has been wrongfully stripped from him.
Throughout the book we get both Celestial and Roy’s side of the story which has interesting take on events. We get a look at racial injustice and stereotypes and the horrific effects it has on not only the person, but their loved ones as well. The storytelling is done well, there are plenty intriguing characters. However, at times I found it hard to understand where the story is going. Make sure you read the epilogue, it completely changes the ending as I did not follow the last chapter very well. All in all, it was a good book and I’m excited to see what else Tayari Jones has in store.