An American Marriage: WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION, 2019 by [Jones, Tayari]I recently joined a lovely local book club where we drink a lot of wine and talk a lot. Here is my review of a book we read there recently.

But first the official blurb:

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. Until one day they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit.

Devastated and unmoored, Celestial finds herself struggling to hold on to the love that has been her centre, taking comfort in Andre, their closest friend. When Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, he returns home ready to resume their life together.

My review:

Given the praise for this book I may have started it with too high expectations. For several chapters I was waiting for the story to take off but neither did I feel the mutual attraction of the couple, nor did I get into the long back stories of them and their families.
By the time the drama set in I was less engaged with the characters as I would have liked.

The injustice done to them, the blatant bias in court and their terrible tragedy won’t leave you unmoved, though.  In that it is an important wake up call that these things do happen and aren’t just fabrications of the press.

As the marriage drifts apart through the forced separation it’s difficult not to feel sorry for both characters. Yet – to me – they also became quite unlikable and annoying as the story progressed, however understandable their actions and demises were.
It is by no means a trivial story but I was glad when I had finished it and it didn’t stay with me as much as I would have expected from such an emotive topic.