Review: An American Marriage

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I guess I just totally missed the point of this book. Was it about the unfairness of being black in America? Was it about the pointlessness of the institution of marriage? Was it about faithfulness, what it means to have fidelity? Was it about friendship? Fatherhood? Ambition?

All I can say with absolute certainty is that every. single. character. in this book was awful. That could well have been the author’s intent, but I can’t imagine making every last character positively insufferable on purpose.

What kind of ending was that? To have one resolution and then turn around in the end and have the other? Last I checked, literary fiction wasn’t Choose Your Own Adventure. I felt gaslighted by the last chapter and the epilogue.

An American Marriage completely missed the mark for me. Quotes like “yes means yes, and no means no, but what does silence mean?” really got under my fucking skin. Silence is akin to no, which is akin to not giving consent, which is akin to rape. So what’s the question? How are we supposed to believe that Roy isn’t capable of rape when he tells his wife that he could take what he wanted regardless? And why was Celestial so incredibly spineless, incapable of telling him that she wanted to be with Andre? The events of the last 80 pages could have been avoided if someone had just told Roy no. He was a big spoiled baby and there was nothing redeemable about his character, Celestial’s, Big Roy’s, Andre’s, Olive’s, and whoever else was in this miserable waste of paper.

I do not recommend An American Marriage. It’s lucky it’s not getting 1.5 stars tbh.

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