An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a timely and important novel about racial injustice. The story is also about the devastation of a family. The following book club questions will have spoilers so if you haven’t read the novel yet, check out my preview and review first.
It’s hard to choose sides in this one. At least it was for me. I found myself empathizing with all the characters. Heartbroken for Roy but also sad for Celestial. And I liked Andre, who finally acted on his feelings for Celestial but at the wrong time. I feel that there was no all ‘good or bad’ person, but rather a host of complications and flaws. Personally, I thought it ended the right way. Because of circumstances beyond their control,I don’t think it would have worked out for Roy and Celestial if they got back together. Nothing was ever going to be the same.
Let’s get into the book club questions.
- What does the title, An American Marriage, represent in the context of this story? What does it mean to you?
- Jones never specified the race of the woman who accused Roy of rape. Why do you think that is? What race did you imaged her as?
- What did you think of the story choice to show Roy and Celestial communicate through letters during his time in jail? Let’s talk about what we learned about them from those letters. When did the marriage start to unravel?
- What are your thoughts about Celestial and Andre? What qualities did Celestial see in Andre? Do you believe it was truly love for Celestial? Is she more compatible with Andre or Roy?
- If Roy had never gone to jail, do you think they would have lasted and had kids? Why or why not?
- Celestial is an artist and she chooses to make dolls that look like the people in her life, most notably Roy. Why do you think she chose to represent herself in this way? Why dolls?
- Why was it important for us as a reader to have the three first-person perspectives? What did it reveal about each character’s intentions?
- Did you think Roy and Celestial were going to get back together? Why or why not?
- What are you thoughts about the ending? What does the future look like for all the characters?
- What are some of the key themes you picked up on?
Next on my TBR (to be read) list
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