Book Review of An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it is one to read slowly as there is so much to savour in it. The relationships are complex and ever changing. The insight into human emotion and what makes people tick is really impressive. The plot holds together effectively and is well balanced. The use of first person, where different chapters are told by different characters, means that everyone gets to 'have their say'. As such the structure is simple but effective.
The story unfolds after the one of the protagonists, Roy, is wrongly accused of rape. He then goes on to serve five years of a twelve year sentence. Jones doesn't explore the trial in any detail but it underpins all that follows; had Roy been a white man rather than black then it is extremely unlikely that his accuser would have jumped to the conclusion that he was a rapist.
The only part of the story I didn't find convincing was the development when Roy went on to share a cell with his biological father. It did, however, provide an opportunity for father/son relationships to be effectively explored in the text. Barack Obama and Elle both rave about the book, so I guess for the majority this isn't a big criticism. (As an aside, have you noticed how authors tend to have quite big names recommend their books these days. I noticed the same thing in Rosie Walsh's The Man Who Didn't Call which Liane Moriarty recommended.
Book Discussion Questions for An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Book Club Questions for An American Marriage (if you haven't read the book!)
Summing up of Tayari Jones' An American Marriage
This is Tayari Jones' fourth book, but I believe the first one to be published in the UK. I hadn't come across her writing before but will now definitely seek out her other novels. There is flair and craft in every sentence she produces.