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Bar Bar Book Club: An American Marriage

A portrayal of a not so bright American dream ...

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Bar Bar Book Club's August read was 'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones ...

Bar Bar Book Club found 'An American Marriage' to be a well-rounded book and an easy read!

Bar Bar Book Club found 'An American Marriage' to be a well-rounded book and an easy read!

copyright: black sheep collective

An American Marriage was chosen as part of Oprah's book club selection and has been described as 'the Great American Novel' by GoodReads. As many of us were reading the book, whilst relaxing on sandy beaches or tucked away in the Scottish hills, there were lots of positive comments in isolation, but once we came together and started to discuss and pull the book apart it appeared that opinions were easily swayed.

"Jones depicts the rocky marriage of Celestial and Roy!"

Two black American newlyweds, trying to avoid living up to stereotypes, they are ripped apart by the injustices of the American justice system when Roy is convicted of a crime he didn't commit.

The story is told through the points of view of Celestial, Roy and Andre, Celestial's childhood friend who later becomes her new lover. We found this an effective writing style especially when the couple write letters to and from each other when Roy is in prison. The digression of the letters is very interesting and establishes the downfall of their marriage.

Celestial is left with what we found as a moral dilemma; does she wait for her husband to come home or does she release herself from her own prison by divorcing him? We found this a difficult argument some of us saw Roy as a downtrodden victim, others saw him as an aggressor, a kind of 'everyman'.

"This made for a good read!"

At times, we felt distanced by certain social references used in the book, but once this was accepted the book offered an interesting insight into the existence of black Americans and the differences/similarities through the generations.

I think we all warmed to 'Big Roy', who was Roy's own stepdad who progressively stepped up to be his role model and provider. A small glimpse of light in the negative cycle of the characters lives.

We found An American Marriage to be a well-rounded book and an easy read. We all agreed that it is perfect to read whilst away on holiday. Our next Bar Bar Book Club read is When A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

Until next time ...


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More about Georgia Tillery-Randak ...

Georgia grew up in Milton Keynes interested in drama and performance from a young age. She left MK to attend LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts) where she studied Community Drama.

During her time in Liverpool, she absorbed the Arts and Culture scene of the city and feel in love with vibrancy and diversity of the arts there. She also studied at ITI (International Theatre Institute) in Singapore where she observed and researched mime and physical theatre as part of a placement.

On returning to Milton Keynes after graduating, along with Danny, they set up Black Sheep Collective CIC in order to fill the gap in the arts scene of Milton Keynes.

Since setting up the organisation, Georgia has written and directed several fringe theatre shows including 'Where's Alice?' and 'Who's Alice?' a twisted adaptation of Alice in Wonderland and most recently 'The Cagebirds' by David Campton. She has established her own style of work nurturing and guiding young talent. She manages and facilitates the Black Sheep creative learning and community outreach program both in Milton Keynes and Northampton.

Georgia is always striving to push the boundaries with her work, allowing opportunities for an audience to question and challenge their beliefs also with an alternative dark twist.


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