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An American Marriage: A Novel

An American Marriage: A Novel


An American Marriage: A Novel

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4.5/5 (1,260 evaluări)
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9 hours
Lansat:
Feb 6, 2018
ISBN:
9781681688343
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Descriere

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.

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.

Lansat:
Feb 6, 2018
ISBN:
9781681688343
Format:
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Despre autor

Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, including Silver Sparrow, The Untelling, and Leaving Atlanta. Jones holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University, and the University of Iowa. A winner of numerous literary awards, she is a professor of creative writing at Emory University. Visit her website at www.tayarijones.com.


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  • A loving and insightful look at a marriage assaulted by forces beyond the couple's control that was selected as one of Oprah's recent book club picks.

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Recenziile cititorilor

  • (3/5)
    Interesting examination of a budding marriage, one stopped in its tracks when the husband is falsely accused of a terrible crime and incarcerated for five yrs until his lawyer's appeals/efforts can get him released. The young wife, Celestial, her supportive childhood friend Andre (in love with her himself) and her husband Roy all take turns narrating the warp and weave of their earlier lives, their parents, and Celestial's growing realization that a husband absent, is a husband no longer in her heart. This begins the growing conflict as Andre and Celestial finally become a couple, and prepare to help Roy see the truth when he is released and arrives in Atlanta to claim his wife, and his former life. While Roy's angry reaction to his friend and wife's new relationship is expected, the writer's descriptions of the emotional journey each character takes, their interactions with family, esp parents, and how that affects their views and choices is refreshing, tenderhearted without being sappy. Author's prose shifts in tone and vernacular w/each character's voice, but in every chapter it seems, she slips in thoughtful observations - aphorisms about life, family, duty, love - enjoyed this book.
  • (4/5)
    "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Mark 10:9My first fiction read of 2018 is the highly anticipated An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. It is the story of a young marriage tested by the husband's incarceration for a crime he did not commit. It is an exploration of what endures and what holds us together. The novel is told through the voices of the couple Roy and Celeste and Roy's best friend and Celeste's childhood soulmate Andre. Roy and Celeste were married only a year and a half, ready to have a baby. Roy was first generation college, a handsome and charming man on the up-and-up, his whole world ahead of him. Celeste was committed to being an artist when Roy swept her off her feet and into marriage. Roy was glad to "set her down" and supported her art. All their plans were crushed in an instant when Roy was accused of rape, convicted, and imprisoned. In a series of letters we follow their relationship through the early days of separation. Celeste's lawyer uncle works for justice for Roy. Celeste does not divorce Roy or stop depositing money into his account. But she does break off with him.Roy's college friend Andre grew up next door to Celeste and has always loved her. Celeste loved Andre like a brother, but kept him at a safe distance. Between their childhood houses is Old Hickey, a centennial tree that represents what lasts. Several years into Roy's sentence Celeste and Andre finally consummate their love into a solid relationship, each still living in their childhood homes next to each other. Celeste has moved on, but feels the guilt of abandoning a man who has lost everything. These characters are vital and real. And so are the supporting characters, their parents and people who raised them. There are many forms of love, marriage, and families in the story, covering a whole range of human experience. Each reveals what lasts and does not last, the nature of love, and the many ways love is torn asunder.The long, simmering set up peaks when Roy is finally released after five years and returns home to see if he has a marriage. It culminates in a desperate scene of conflict and Roy's realization of who he is and is not, and what has and has not endured.The story is set against the reality of the mass incarceration of black men. I wish that Jones had included more about Roy's trial and prison experience as a black man caught in a justice system stacked against him. It would have helped set up the change in Roy, for I had trouble connecting the dapper ladies man to the violence of his later actions. Still, for readers from a background of white privilege, what is in the book may be enough to open eyes. African Americans already know.What really sunders Roy and Celeste? Was their love too green? Was their love built on sand and not solid ground? Was Celeste to blame, or Andre? Was it society--racism and a justice system--that failed Roy? Or was it the woman who recognized Roy's face and confused him with the rapist in the dark who attacked her? In the end, each finds a place to belong, a love that lasts. And that is all any of us really wants from life. To be one flesh in the arms of love.I received a free book from the publisher through a LibraryThing giveaway.
  • (4/5)
    Just after I downloaded this audiobook it was chosen as the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction winner. Oprah also chose it for her book club. So you can see that it has a lot of interest from some powerful women. Which is interesting because I don't know that Celestial, the woman in the story, comes off as a powerful woman.Roy and Celestial have been married for about a year when they travel to Roy's hometown in Louisiana. Roy has been keeping a secret about his paternity from Celestial (his mother had him as a teenager before she married Roy's step-father, Big Roy) Roy plans to tell Celestial about this fact and for this reason decides not to stay with his parents but check into a motel instead. The revelation of Roy's paternity almost devolves into a fight but Roy calls a time out and goes off to get ice. He meets an older woman who needs help getting back to her room and then he goes back to talk more with Celestial. The time out seems to have cooled down the emotions and Celestial and Roy make love and then fall asleep. In the middle of the night their door is broken down by police who charge Roy with the rape of the older woman he met at the ice machine. He is soon convicted and thrown in prison. Celestial swears to wait for him; she knows he has been wrongfully convicted because he was with her all night. Celestial goes back to her life as an artist in Atlanta. Roy and Celestial's letters to each other form the next part of the book and we see their relationship start to break down. Celestial's best friend and neighbour, Andre, confesses he has always loved her and Celestial realizes she loves Andre as well. When Roy is finally released from jail his life has been altered irrevocably. Is this an indication as to how fragile human relationships are? Should Celestial have waited for Roy? Is Andre (who was a friend of Roy's in college) wrong to declare his love for Celestial? Is Roy blameless in the breakdown of the marriage? All questions that arose in my mind as I listened to this book. My sympathies are more on Roy's side although I can see he has some faults. What I will remember most is how easy it was to convict an innocent man and the fact that he was African-American was a big contributing factor.
  • (5/5)
    First thing is the dust jacket that has an image of a tree. That symbol alone made me want to read the novel,y plus I enjoyed “Silver Sparrow “ so I knew this story wouldn’t be any different. As I started reading the book, somewhere into the second or third chapters, the book made Oprah’s Book Club list and a movie soon to follow was announced.Second, the symbolism of the tree was revealed 30% into the story. The characters where unpredictable, in terms of what they confessed to and their current state of mind, but that is what made the story evolve and gave it its charm. Third, I enjoyed the epistolary(told through letters) writing style. It told a lot within huge segments of time. My favorite character was Mr. Roy Senior. He was a quite, humble but steady and a strong hearted man. I highly recommend reading this book, for it is well written and I also enjoyed the audiobook from my local library.
  • (5/5)
    One of the things I loved about this novel was the POV. Each chapter is told from a specific character's point of view, but in addition to that, there are sections that are letters written from one character to another. It's unique and offered a deeper understanding into their motives and relationships. The story line is real and harsh. Definitely not a light read, but very good.
  • (3/5)
    A downbeat romance? A romantic tragedy? It’s hard to pin this one down. If anything it reminded me of Gone Girl with its twisty plot (and selfish protagonists). All the characters seem to be in the wrong and hard done by all at once - but I guess that’s marriage, eh guys?
  • (5/5)
    Excellently written love story. Jones captures emotions and the trials and tribulations of love in her novel that left me pondering the depths of thought and experience.
  • (5/5)
    Roy and Celestial are a young professional black couple in Atlanta. Life looks good until Roy is falsely accused of rape and then convicted. An American Marriage follows their story before, during and after his sentence.The novel takes on a huge issue – the mass incarceration of young black men through the failings of the US legal system, institutional racism and the legacy of slavery in the American South. But its genius is that it does so through a tight-knit cast of characters. We see Roy and Celestial mostly through their relationships to each other and their immediate friends and family.Roy and Celestial are not archetypes but real, flawed people. The close observation brings a sense of claustrophobia but also an unforgiving eye to their complexities. You are left wondering where their relationship would have gone if this terrible event had not befallen them. You can understand what brings them together, but also the ways they might not be compatible.The decisions Celestial takes when Roy is in prison are open to interpretation – is she doing the right thing, is she driven by the terrible situation she finds herself in, or do they reflect characteristics that were always there?An American Marriage highlights class and gender and the way they cut across race. Celestial is from an affluent, educated, confident family and she is financially secure and able to provide for Roy in prison. He has gone to university but he is from a poor rural background. His parents were proud that he had been successful and escaped the fate of most young black men in their community but now he too is in prison.Celestial feels that she has to make things up to Roy for what he has suffered, even though she is in no way responsible. As a woman, she is also victimised, by obligation, by guilt, by the need to make amends. She is made uncomfortable by the degrading experience of visiting, from the contemptuous looks of the staff to the intrusive strip searches. She also berates herself for not showing the ‘right’ emotions on the witness stand at his trial, for being articulate rather than in floods of tears, wondering if this might have swayed the jury.The part of the novel where Roy is in prison is told only through the letters the couple exchange. At first I was dubious about this. Epistolary novels often feel artificial – who puts their true feelings on paper any more? But being in prison is one of the few times when people actually do, because it is their only option. It also enables us to see Roy and Celestial as they see each other, when their only other contact is through brief, strained visits. Later we learn what wasn’t in those letters.This thought also led me to revise my view of the epilogue, which is also told in letters. Initially it felt the ending was too neat, but then it occurred to me that it may be naïve to take the letters at face value.This is such a beautifully crafted book, taking in both the domestic and the political, individual pain and social injustice. It is a well deserved winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for fiction.A note on the audiobookI listened to the audiobook which was perfect for the confessional, first-person narratives. It captured the contrasting voices – Roy charming and conversational, Celestial more brittle and reserved. More prosaically, I enjoyed their accents and the rhythm of the language – although I ‘hear’ the words when I read, they would probably have been more generically American in my head!
  • (5/5)
    This was one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2018. I wasn’t sure what to expect but in the end it did not disappoint.

    Celestial and Roy are a couple who are dealt a terrible hand. Having only been married a year and a half, Roy is literally torn from their bed and sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. It is difficult enough to make a marriage work let alone when one of you is in jail – and wrongfully accused.

    This was a tough read. There are a lot of subjects I’m ignorant on, and mass incarceration is one of them. In the book I didn’t understand why there wasn’t a rape kit, DNA testing, etc. How was Roy so easily committed for something he didn’t do? I still don’t know if that’s the norm, or if that’s just the norm if you’re black and accused. Either way it’s disgusting and disgraceful.

    My heart broke right along with Roy’s and Celestials’ and this book had me crying less than 100 pages in.

    I loved Jones’ writing. It was truthful, and visceral, sharp tongued and didn’t sugar coat anything. I particularly loved reading the letters Roy wrote and received to and from Celestial, and the others in his life. It was a unique and truthful way to communicate to the reader what was going on. They weren’t able to talk face to face every day, and through letters things can get misinterpreted. I liked that that was included.

    I don’t want to give away any spoilers on how it ends. I think it’s important not to know what happens, going into it. I will say the actions of Roy and Celestial are very believable. These are two imperfect humans trying to survive through what was dealt to them. I don’t think you can blame each of them for doing, acting, and saying what they did.

    Although this book has a lot of heartbreak in it, I do think this story is one, ultimately of hope.

    I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
    This review was originally posted on Books For The Living.
  • (2/5)
    I received this book almost two years ago and tried to read it a couple of times. I don’t know what didn’t work for me but when my book club decided to read it, I knew it was time. The author has a lot of issues she wants to write about. I felt she wanted to address unjustly accused black men in prison, racial profiling, marriage, etc. For me, it didn’t work. The story was easy to read and Ms. Jones has some good insights. But the plot was pretty trite. Switching voices also didn’t work because all the voices were the same. All in all a disappointing read.
  • (3/5)
    An American Marriage has been causing quite a stir lately, but our group could not summon the fervour reflected on-line with this highly acclaimed novel.Most of us could not go past a 5 or 6 out of 10, stating frustration with characters and storyline, and the weak plot seemed to lead nowhere. It seemed everyone struggled with connecting either emotionally or intellectually with the characters.The few positives included easy to read with a real rhythm and voice to it, limited characters to follow and the author seemed to purposely to not play the race/discrimination card (not to its full potential anyway). We discussed whether it was for cultural reasons that we had trouble connecting with the story. Jones wrote her characters in such a way that most of us forgot they were Black Americans throughout the story. Was this her intention? We think so. There are many novels out there that set the whole storyline on racial discrimination and the injustice of such hate, but Jones seemed to want to tell a different story … that of a young marriage and its struggle to manage through separation and turmoil. So we certainly give her points for this.We always hope to learn something from a novel and in this case we believe we have. In trying to bond with Celestial, Roy and Andre, we all found ourselves looking for a way they could make things work. Their situation is far from anything we are likely to experience ourselves, but in reading their story we feel there is more empathy and understanding in our selves than before. And much of this positive feedback comes not so much from the book, but from our discussion. Thank you ladies for another great conversation!
  • (5/5)
    4.5 StarsI know that this was in the running for a top read in 2018. I planned to get to it earlier, but I just never could work it in. I decided it was finally time to give it a go. I will say I went into this not knowing anything about the story. When it started, it caught me off guard with the storyline as it was not what I was expecting at all. This was such an amazing story following the marriage of Roy and Celestrial. I had no heard much about this and I had no clue that the first third would be made up of letters (I will not spoil why). It still all worked for me though.It is hard to say much, and I think it best that you just go into this knowing it is about a marriage. This story deals with rape, racism, marriage, cheating, and so much more. This made me laugh and it made me cry. I was captivated with their story from the very beginning.Overall, not enough people are talking about this and highly recommend this.
  • (5/5)
    A love story of a couple, a false I prisonment, and human passion. I don’t know if this would have happened like this to a white couple. Lots of opportunity for discussion about white entitlement and racial inequality.
  • (5/5)
    “How did we end up here? My key works, but you won’t let me in.”Celestial and Roy are made for each other, even though their relationship is not without fights. But they always manage to get together again. Some issues are hot topics - their different backgrounds, their families, having a child - so they try to avoid them. But sometimes these things come up nevertheless and one evening, their quarrel escalates. Fifteen minutes should be enough to cool down. But these fifteen minutes will change their lives, their fates and all the dreams they had for their future together. Nothing will be anymore as it was the next morning.Tayari Jones’ novel hits you like a hammer. You cannot read it without getting involved deeply and asking yourself the question: how would I react in their place? What I loved utterly was the author’s way of foreshadowing: telling you that a meteor was to crash their lives or that this was their last happy evening for a long time; this creates an almost unbearable suspense, you absolutely want to know what is going to happen and thus, you surely cannot put down the book.All in all, the story is a quite unique ménage à trois. On the one hand, Celestial and Roy, wed for some months and still somehow at the beginning of their common life. On the other hand, there is Andre who has been a friend of Celestial since their days in kindergarten, who befriended Roy in college and who actually made them acquainted with each other. Long hidden feelings for Celestial can no longer kept buried when she is in need of a shoulder to lie on. Reading the story as it is, you cannot really blame anyone for what they do. It just happens, but it doesn’t make you really happy either. Especially when compared to their parents’ marriages: a deep affection that lasts over decades and that survives even the biggest crises.Apart from this, the novel is also highly critical in several respects: the American legal system, the way blacks are still treated today and have to fight harder than others and also the question of what makes a man a man and a father a father. A lot of food for thought written in a light style which is full of splendid metaphors that I absolutely adored.
  • (3/5)
    This was a beautifully written book and the characters were well developed. However, the characters were almost too real with flaws that kept me from having anyone to root for. The story was very sad about what can happen to a marriage when a man is falsely accused and incarcerated. But the problem for me was the three main characters all made bad choices making their situation even worse. Although the author did a great job of showing their motivations, the problem was Roy went to jail when he and Celestial had only been married for one year. Had he not got to jail, they probably would have gotten divorced. But there is more guilt involved when your husband is in jail. But apparently not enough guilt not to cheat on him. But then the guy was flirting with other women through their first year of marriage and went straight to a woman's bed when he got out of jail so although I wanted him out of jail, I didn't necessary think he was a great husband. I probably liked Andre best of the 3 POV characters. But again, I don't believe in sleeping with a married person and worse, not explaining your actions when called on it by one of your good friends. I did think the book ended about as well as it could have.
  • (1/5)
    There was not a single believable word that emerged from any of the characters throughout the 300 pages of this soapfest. Worse, though, each of the POV characters narrating the Hallmark Romance plot is pretty much a terrible person. Not one of them is able to generate even the tiniest dribble of empathy for another as they stumble around explaining and re-explaining how tough life has been for them... for them and no one else.

    There are some genuine issues here, fleetingly touched upon, like the unjust conviction and incarceration rates of African American men and the burden of parenthood, but it's all brushed aside as soon as there's an opportunity for more self-pity and overwrought drama. Hopeless inauthentic tosh featuring unlikeable leads who believe that acting only in one's self-interest in any given instance is an admirable life choice..
  • (5/5)
    A really great novel about the complexity of a troubled marriage. It seems that Celestial and Roy will have a happy life but Roy is wrongly thrown in prison for rape. They struggle with this long distance relationship and over time she develops a relationship with his best friend (male) and next door neighbor Andre. After five years Roy gets out of prison and the threesome must somehow go on. This is a very touching novel full of tenderness and hurt. This novel needs to be made into a movie. There will be awards. Great read.
  • (4/5)
    An American Marriage is very well-written, more compelling than pleasurable. Author Tayari Jones tells her story through the points of view of a recently married black couple - wife (Celestial) and her husband (Roy) – and then later, their friend (Andre) is added. Roy is falsely accused of a crime and when he is thrown into prison, it completely throws their marriage into confusion. Heart-rending letters are sent back and forth and decisions are made. None of these characters are all ‘good’ or all ‘bad’, just very human. Jones does a good job of delving into their minds; the evolution of their relationship and of their family issues are explored in a very personal manner. In the end, this book was hard to put down – you really must find out if their marriage will survive or not. I would recommend it as well worth reading, especially for a book club and as an example of good contemporary Southern literature.
  • (4/5)
    Good book. None of the three main characters are the hero and none the villain but all three are both. I would read more from this author if I cane across it but I wouldn’t search it out.
  • (5/5)
    I wasn't sure what I thought of this book for the first 100 or so pages, but Ms. Jones' skillful storytelling really sucked me in. I got really invested in the characters - particularly in Roy - and the different points of view/perspectives made the story much richer than it would have been if told only from one character's viewpoint. Going to look for her other books - highly recommend!
  • (2/5)
    At times promising, but ultimately frustrating. There is little art or originality to this simplistic storytelling, but the plot itself is brilliant for a large portion. There were multiple opportunities, but particularly in the closing pages to make this novel say something impactful, but the writer chooses a softer, less critical, and less ambiguous direction. Some of the notions about what it is to “be a man” or to “be a woman” are antiquated and almost unbelievable from young and educated characters. The writer too often forces symbolism upon the reader in a clumsy manner. Although I’d summarize this novel as one of missed opportunity and a failure to deliver both in style and substance, the writer shows enough promise that I’ll be keeping an eye out for future work.
  • (4/5)
    a haunting book set in current day in Louisiana & Atlanta. Celestial and Roy are an upwardly mobile just married couple. While staying at a motel near his parents, Roy is accused of raping a woman at the motel. Celestial is unmoored when Roy is convicted. At first she keeps up with visitation and letters, but then the pull of her childhood friend Andre is too strong, especially when Andre has always had a silent tendre for her and makes his move,
  • (4/5)
    This novel has a surprisingly unique premise, and one I didn't anticipate. It is thought-provoking that lives can be altered forever by the misguided accusation of people looking for justice or, in this case, injustice. Celestial and Roy are living in a marriage that has its fair share of challenges, but nothing can prepare them for the nightmare that results from Roy's kind act to a woman who later is certain that he committed a heinous crime. It is difficult to comprehend the racism that still exists in the south. I, too, live in Atlanta, although in a northern suburb, so seeing it on the news and reading about it are a haunting reminder that skin color can determine how people are treated within and outside of the justice system. The story is told from the perspectives of three people who are bound forever in an untenable situation. The characters are well developed, as are their relationships with each other. Our sympathies lie with all of them as they attempt to forge a new normal.
  • (4/5)
    This story is fiction, but it is a composite of real life, real situations, real social injustice. The characters were real to me; no stretch of imagination involved in their situations or emotions. Well, there was one situation that stretched belief, but it was necessary to the story. This is a soul-baring novel, and well written and worth the time to read or listen to it. I listened to it, and the voices were spot on.
  • (4/5)
    Celestial and Roy, a young, upwardly mobile black couple, are one and a half years into their marriage and working through significant challenges with career ambition, whether and when to have children, and establishing more adult relationships with their parents. While visiting his parents in a small Louisiana town, Roy is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, and ultimately sentenced to twelve years in prison. Not surprisingly, this puts considerable strain on their marriage. At first Celestial regularly visits Roy in prison, but over time the disparity between their lives becomes a source of tension, and the couple grows apart. Celestial has become a successful artist, and her platonic relationship with childhood friend Andre has blossomed into something more. When Roy’s conviction is overturned and he is released after just 5 years, all three have to face reality and make important decisions about their futures.I have mixed feelings about this book. I was completely caught up in the story, finishing the book in just a day and a half. The characters’ moral dilemmas were believable. But the characters all lacked a certain complexity, especially Celestial, whose motives and decision-making processes remain a mystery to me. Roy’s character developed the most over the life of the novel, bringing emotional depth to the story and credibility to the ending. That said, this book offers up plenty for discussion, about both mass incarceration and relationships, and should make for an interesting book club meeting.
  • (5/5)
    The flood of accolades for this fine novel are well deserved, and if you read it after you see the movie "If Beale Street Could Talk", you'll note the parallels of innocent African American men sent to prison. This novel is exceptional in its depiction of the couple Celestial and Roy, who tell their story alternating with Celestial's childhood friend Andre. These are all complex people, each so right most of the time and painfully wrong too, and in their longings to escape from and to embrace their childhoods and their loving parents, in their meeting and their parting, in their struggle to maintain their own identities while trying to become half of a whole, they are universal. But the harsh reality is that they are born of formerly enslaved people in a country where ten of the first twelve presidents owned other humans, and where reparations for that horror, that violent history, have never been made. I am hopeful that their story will open the eyes of readers who do not yet understand what it is like to be black in white America, from the minute you wake up and walk out your door every day until your life ends. And where the expectation is, for black boys and men, that you will be "either taken out by six (pallbearers) or taken out by twelve (jurors)."Quotes: "I indulged you since you were a little girl, so you think every day is supposed to be the weekend.""A man who is a father to a daughter is different from one who is a father to a son. One is the left show and the other is the right. They are the same but not interchangeable."
  • (4/5)
    One of the first things to strike me about this novel was how it wasn’t angry. It seemed to go out of its way to not be about anger, rage or frustration; all reflexive responses to what happens to Roy. I don’t know if that was a deliberate choice, or a natural result of this kind of thing being all too much of the usual. A sad testament. The book doesn’t focus on Roy’s arrest, trial or repeated appeals, but instead what the injustice and separation does to him and wife, Celestial. It’s low-key and un-dramatized, but intense. R & C have been apart longer than they’ve been a couple and that’s what takes them apart. It’s that lack of long-present bonding. They’ve only operated as a unit for about 18 months and still remember how to operate individually. Even though Roy’s circumstances have changed more dramatically than Celestial’s, they both need another person to fill the absence of each other.C’s felt more plausible. Of course she’d turn to Andre. He’s her oldest friend. Lives right next door and there’s a history of intimacy if not necessarily romance. Roy’s bulwark is a bit more coincidental, but I understand why Jones chose it. In order to keep the narrative from becoming a prison tale, Roy needed protection and so having his natural father pop up was a plausible way to go even if it was a bit starry-eyed. I liked how Celestial explained the difference between Andre’s experience going to visit Roy and her own. She is judged. She is scorned. She is assumed to be stupid; duped. Just another pathetic black woman going to see her man; staying loyal in the face of so much gone wrong. Andre doesn’t get that at all. His loyalty is brotherhood. Is righteous. For the most part, Roy and Celestial have a good relationship that is frank and honest, romantic and sexy, positive and upward. I didn’t like that R automatically assumed that as soon as the wedding was over, C would become a baby machine. I did like that she resisted even though the eventual abortion she has made sense; who wants to raise a child with the first thing it comes to know is that daddy is in prison?Overall an engrossing novel that doesn’t do anything absolutely new, but creates a unique arrangement of a marriage coming apart.
  • (4/5)
    Story of Celeste and Roy newlyweds. Roy gets arrested and railroaded for a crime he did not commit. Celeste stands by his side for as long as she can while they try to get him out of prison but it just becomes too long of a wait. It was tragic and I felt very sad for both of them.
  • (3/5)
    Very highly rated and reviewed book that I found a little disappointing mainly because it relied so heavily on clichés to tell its story and make its points about American culture as regards the problems that young black men still have today with the justice system. In the end, though, it is a decent plot and it makes good points about the fragility of marriage vows, interrupted relationships, and how easily lives can be destroyed.
  • (5/5)
    A stunning and beautifully told story about a young black married couple who are split apart when the man is falsely accused of rape. What happens to a marriage when one is behind bars and the other is free to live her life outside? Although incredibly painful to read at times, this work was so honest about human feelings and failings, as well as the possibility of second chances. I would recommend it to everyone, but you need to be able to handle the emotional pain. Realizing that in the real world people (especially people of color) are wrongfully incarcerated makes this work less fictional. I took off half a star for the way it raced to the ending, but that shouldn't prevent anyone from reading it.