Well I went into this expecting a compelling read. It was that at times. I think the biggest reason why I just didn’t get into this story that much was that the story should have stayed between Roy and Celestial. Adding Andre actually took away from both of them. And having the narrative go to their letters to each other was a bit hard to get into since the rhythm was off. Except for a few clues here and there you are pretty unaware of dates unless someone says it was a year or two years. I also kind of hated the end.
Everyone was yelling about “An American Marriage” last year and I finally finished it this weekend. I don’t know what to say. I thought it was okay, but I just finished “If Beale Street Could Talk” and thought Baldwin did it better. This book shows a more modern look at Fonny and Tish.
Celestial and Roy recount how they have been married a year. Celestial makes dolls (the whole doll thing creeped me out) and is pushing to become a more recognizable artist. Roy wants them to start trying for a baby soon. Roy tends to keep things from Celestial and they fight and make up. They go home to visit Roy’s family and from there tragedy occurs that affects Roy and Celestial’s marriage.
Woo boy, a friend said it best, the only likable people in this one were really the parents. I felt for Tish and Fonny throughout “If Beale Street Could Talk”. I wanted Fonny free to be the artist he dreamed of living in a loft with Tish and their children. I didn’t like Celestial at all. Celestial was selfish as the day is long and Andre wasn’t about shit. And Roy was frustrating as hell. I think telling the story the way Jones chose to just ended up taking me out of the story. Everything felt very overly written and as I said above, the letter portion doesn’t really work at all.
I really needed the writing to show me why Celestial and Roy are even together. Eventually Jones goes back to how they met, but it didn’t ring true or at least not true enough to show me why they even pursued a relationship.
The flow was off after we get to the tragedy aspect. Jones starts off showing Roy and Celestial’s POV. Then Jones shifts to letters between the two of them and it just takes something away from them. We know we are missing pieces, and we don’t get to really see Celeste until the third part and I was not impressed. After we shit back again to their POV’s, Jones then adds in Andre who was not necessary and just had me feeling irritated.
The book is set in Atlanta, but we jump around a lot too. I don’t want to say in the review since it can lead to spoiling for potential readers.
The ending was not it for me. I don’t get why Celestial made the decisions she did. She was beyond confusing though she was supposed to be acting as if she was deep. Don’t get me started on Andre. And Roy was just sad to me in the end. I just did not see this as really an American marriage. Just a whole lot of messiness.