Bar Bar Book Club: An American Marriage
Bar Bar Book Club's August read was 'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones. Chosen as part of Oprah's book club selection.
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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