Book Review – An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Nnamdi Oguike: Do Not Say It's Not Your Country
Celebrating Greatness: Author’s Interview – Nnamdi Oguike
February 15, 2019
Popular Books
Popular Books I am Yet to Read
February 22, 2019

Is it love, or is it convenience?… She explained that connivence, habit, comfort, obligation- these are all things that wear the same clothing as love sometimes

When I wanted to read a book about love, I was thinking of a sappy/cheesy book that would make me grin but a little bit exaggerated to remind me that it wasn’t real but with An American Marriage, I wasn’t ready.


An American Marriage is a story of two newlyweds, Roy Hamilton and Celestial Davenport. They have a good life; they are in love, financially stable, young and happy. Suddenly, their life takes the downturn when Roy is wrongly accused of rape and is sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. Their seemingly perfect life began to quake at the bulkiness of this sudden separation, distance and the heaviness of the whole situation.

Celestial knows Roy is innocent but he is a black man, his innocence did not mean anything to the system.
The weight of this new development caused a strain on their relationship and affects the overall health of their relationship.
With the diligent work of a good lawyer, Roy is released after five years of incarceration. He is released to a life bereft of the job he worked so hard for, a relationship he has no idea of its status, the void of his dead mother and his fate as a black man living in America.

An American Marriage is a story of love, life, family, race, judicial system, struggle and survival.


There are too many loose ends in the world in need of knots. You can’t attend to all of them, but you have to try

While I must applaud the author for her storytelling, I must say that the characters in this book were exasperating. However, An American Marriage did something to me, it made me ask questions.

Do we really love who we say we love?

Without adversity, how true is love?

What would I do if I were in their shoes?

An American Marriage explored the intricacies of love and life. It was hard to root for a character because when you start, they do something to jeopardize that. My favourite character was Big Roy, Roy’s father, he was one of characters I felt connected to and greatly admired him.

I liked how different pages was narrated by the main characters in the book, I like the change of perspective.

I became aware of ‘blackness’ by reading books and watching movies, as a Nigerian living in Nigeria, I was semi-aware of my ‘Africaness’. Even when in the larger community black people face problems like racism, I liked how it was touched in the book and importantly, how complexities between the same race were explored.
More than making me ask questions, this book made me think.

I questioned the state of those who were wrongly accused and incarcerated when released and what the State does as restitution for the inadequacy of the system. However, I thought of it as a problem in my country and couldn’t even fathom the state of it because people are picked at the road side and thrown into jail unlawfully, it is just a box of knots that is complicated and terrible.


I enjoyed reading An American Marriage, it broke my heart a few times and stained my face with tears but Tayari Jones did a good job with this book. It is a 3.5/5 for me.

You can read other book reviews here

Title: An American Marriage

Author: Tayari Jones

Publisher: Highbridge Audio

Format: Audiobook read by Sean Crisden, Eisa Davis

Source: Scribd


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

1 Comment

  1. […] Read Funmi’s beautiful review here […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: