At the onset of this story, Roy and Celestial have been married for a little over a year, and are just getting to the point where they understand each other. Tragically, their marriage is derailed by a miscarriage of justice that lands Roy with a 12-year prison sentence. The remainder of the book explores the very complicated dynamics of a forced long-distance marriage. Told from multiple perspectives and spanning several decades, the story dives deep into the family members and circumstances that make us who we are.
An American Marriage is not content to merely handle the relationship between a husband and wife. Alternately tackling interpersonal relationships, race, family dynamics and the justice system, it offers no easy answers. I found myself sometimes rooting for all the narrators, and sometimes for none of them. Just as in real life, the characters in the book make some bad decisions, and Tayari Jones does not take the easy road. The end offers hope and optimism, though not in the way you might predict.