Celestial and Roy would be what social media users refer to as #relationshipgoals. Much like most of those relationships depicted on social media, Celestial and Roy’s relationship is multi-layered. Author Tayari Jones peels back these layers slowly and methodically. When a devastating tragedy hits in their first year of marriage, the newlyweds are forced to sort out the issues that have settled between the layers.
All families have secrets. Roy decided to share his family secret with Celestial after a year of marriage. Once that secret was revealed, it seemed like all the pain and tragedy came rushing in. Jones not only forces the reader to take in the hardships of a young marriage that has been dealt a hard blow but also how the family structure that reared each party will affect their relationship.
Roy was driven and embracing the American Dream. He was raised rural and felt secure in the fact that he was making his family proud. America has an uncanny way of strategically placing obstacles in the way of any Black man that is close to obtaining his so-called dream. Celestial was independent, selfish and spoiled. She was the darling of her family. She was not given to making sacrifices for anyone or anything but herself. Both Roy and Celestial’s balance and later burden went by the name of Andre.
When Jones set the table with “An American Marriage,” she didn’t allow any room for dessert. Social justice, police brutality, family secrets, love triangles and individual dualities all make for “An American Marriage.”