Book Review: An American Marriage


“Is it love, or is it convenience?”
This book was chosen by Oprah’s book club, and you know once you see that seal of approval, it’s always a go-to read. And I’m so glad I found this book because I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in one day. This book shows the relationship over time of a young black couple (Celestial and Roy) from Atlanta during the post-integration generation. They’re a middle-class couple, on their way to the up and up, both having college degrees, and beginning to live their best lives, but those plans are squandered when Roy is accused of rape, by an older white woman. Celestial knows he didn’t commit the crime, and vows to stick by him. But life gets in the way of commitments sometimes. Especially when her career begins to skyrocket her art into major publications.  Over time her needs change, and she has to decide between her prison life with Roy, and a new exciting life with a man she knows as much as she knows herself.

This novel illuminates the complications of love, loyalty, and all that come along with it. It also discusses the mixing of the black social classes, the innocent vs. the incarcerated, fatherhood, sacrifice, racism and perceptions in America.

It wasn’t just the storyline that had me intrigued, but the way the story was told. The characters come to life and I actually felt sympathetic to the way they were feeling, and anticipating what was going to happen next. We may know people, or hear stories of black men being falsely accused of a crime, and being sent it away for x amount of years. But we never really, well I have never really took into account how the people in their lives are affected, how they themseleves are thinking. This novel shows what happens to families, friends, relationships, and commitments when these tragic events occur.

The multiple third person narration gives the readers a more intimate insight on their true feelings-Roy, Celestial, and Dre. Dre is Celestial’s longtime best friend, in the tub since diapers kind of bestie. You’ll have to read the book to find out more about him 😩.

One of my favorite parts were the handwritten letters. #Romantic Since Roy was imprisoned, one of their most frequent forms of communication was writing letters backs and forth. Its very romantic, and sets the emotions of the characters up so well that I felt their pain.

I have some mixed feelings about Celestial. Sometimes I can rock with her, sometimes I want to rock her!

This is not your typical love story, although initially, it sounds like it would be. It gives a real life account of life and the choices we make and have to face.

If your husband was sentenced to a twelve-year bid for a crime that he didn’t commit, do you think you could wait it out for him? And if you can’t wait for him, would you revamp your life for him once he’s out of prison, out of guilt?
Please get this book so we can talk about the ending!!
“I never had a chance, did I?”

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