BOOK REVIEW: AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE BY TAYARI JONES

Is there anyone out there? Do I still have any interested readers waiting for my posts? Wow! It has been too long! I apologize for my absence on this platform. I really did miss it but life happened and I just couldn’t keep up with reading and reviewing.

Actually, I have been reading but I didn’t feel compelled to review anything until now. This book by Tayari Jones reminded me that I still love to review books.

When I came across an ad on instagram for the sale of a gently used Amazon Kindle with over 600 books already on it, I didn’t think I would take up the offer. Out of sheer curiosity I reached out to the seller and before I could stop myself I had purchased said Kindle and books. This Kindle led me to my very first encounter with Tayari Jones’ words and better believe that I am in love!

There was something about this narration that stuck to me and wouldn’t let go. Even after I read the last word in the book I was still looking for more of the wholesome goodness of a well narrated story; a story that gives a a different perspective, one that says it as it is honestly and without diplomacy. A story of a black man and a black woman in America.

An American Marriage is not only beautiful, it evokes so many emotions from pain to sorrow to love and then heartbreak. Oh heartbreak! How heartbreaking can it be for an innocent man who’s convicted for a crime he did not commit and then to come back from prison and find that his wife has moved on. My heart bled for Roy and I could not hate Celestial.

An American Marriage was rich in character. I marveled at the way the author gave off the black vibe, the richness of their attitude, the awareness of their color and the reality of their situation. The characters were so properly described that I felt I would know them if they passed by me.

This story was simple enough to understand but complex enough to tug at one’s conscience. It made me question myself. What would I do if I were Celestial? Would I have stuck it out? Waiting for my man to get out of prison? And Andre? The steady friend who slips into lover once Roy is out of the picture. I wondered if it wasn’t only a matter of time before Andre and Celestial would get together.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones was a page turner. It kept me company on my commute home from work and I latched on to the book until I had milked out the whole story.

The danger of a mistake. That is what the book really centers on. A woman claims she was raped. She claims it was Roy. Roy is incarcerated. End of story? No. This claim spirals into the lives of Celestial, her parents, Big Roy, Olive, Andre…everyone connected to Roy suffers for one woman’s wrong claim.

The author relays the story in an easy way. The dialogue, the poetry in the words, the intensity of emotions and the turn of events in the letters exchanged between the main characters. I also enjoyed the narration as it moved from Roy to Celestial and then Andre. One is able to see each character and their inner struggles.

I loved the wisdom in the book as well. Reading lines like “If you have a woman, you recognize when you have said the wrong thing. Somehow she arranges the ions in the air and you can’t breathe as well”

or

“None of this proposing via billboard or at halftime at the Rose Bowl. Marriage is between two people. There is no studio audience.”

And

“Love makes a place in your life, it makes a place for itself in your bed. Invisibly, it makes a place in your body, rerouting all your blood vessels, throbbing right alongside your heart. When it’s gone, nothing is whole again”

I cannot quote all the lines that struck me but I can tell you that I will be reading the book again. I hope you look for this book, I hope you find the time to read it. It was a fantastic read and I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a story that’s entertaining yet relevant.

Kemibon

The God of Small Things was an unforgettable read

Hello everyone, I am sure by now you can tell that I am not a very consistent blogger but I promise I will try to be better in this new year. As a matter of fact I was planning to post this review last year because I finished the book in December of last year but I read The Fault in Our Stars and had to quickly put that review up because the book was so amazing I just had to share my impressions.

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Arundhati Roy did such an incredible job with this book the style of writing the powerful descriptions and the suspense in the telling of a simply unforgettable tale. When I first started reading The God of Small Things my thought was what kind of title is this and what can this book really be about? Of course I was able to figure it out eventually. I feel the most striking quality of the entire narration is the author’s ability to capture every character’s thoughts and feelings without using a point of view narration for each character. She did a remarkable job with the characters in the book as well. There was no uninteresting character; each character had a unique presence and added just the right flavour when introduced in the book

Arundhati expressed a very uncanny ability to describe disgusting, irritating and natural happenings with ease. The reader will feel, smell and almost taste what is being described. It’s such a beautiful experience to have just from reading a book.  The author  embraces the little details with aplomb she engages words that created pictures so vividly that smack you right in the imagination.

The God of Small Things is an unfortunate story of unfortunate events involving unfortunate characters. The story is laced with humor  but  that doesn’t tear the reader’s attention away from the impending doom. In the manner the story is told there are opportunities given for the reader to grasp at the event that changed everybody’s life but the window of opportunity is so thin that before any sense can be made of a tiny piece of information, the story takes flight again and winds on and on until the tragic end. The story is not told in one fluid narration events are picked and relayed while other events are just occurring. The suspense is laid on very thickly, figures of speech bounce off the pages and the pace is slow but enjoyably so.

It is a story about family, tradition, caste system, love, pain, fear, hatred, lies, death, injustice, lust, perversion and incest but beyond all of that is a sad sad tale that curls around the heart to evoke a few tears. In reading the book I realized that the choices we make can have far reaching consequences and sometimes the desire that drives a choice may appear so important at the time but may end up changing the course of history for many:

“Once he was inside her, fear was derailed and biology took over. The cost of living climbed to unaffordable heights; though later Baby Kochamma would say it was a Small Price to Pay. Was it? Two lives. Two children’s childhoods. And a history lesson for future offenders”.

I will share one of the sad moments from the book with you:

“There is very little that anyone could say to clarify what happened next. Nothing that (in Mammachi’s book) would separate Sex from Love. Or Needs from Feelings. Except perhaps that no Watcher watched through Rahel’s eyes. No one stared out of a window at the sea. Or a boat in the river. Or a passerby in the mist in a hat. Except perhaps that it was a little cold. A little wet. But very quiet. The Air. But what was there to say? Only that there were tears. Only that Quietness and Emptiness fitted together like stacked spoons. Only that there was a snuffling in the hollows at the base of a lovely throat. Only that a hard honeycolored shoulder had a semicircle of teethmarks on it. Only that they held each other close, long after it was over. Only that what they shared that night was not happiness, but hideous grief. Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much”.

I would love to see a screen adaption of The God of Small Things it would make for a very profound viewing. At the end of the book I finally learn what the title means but I won’t reveal that in my review all I will say at this point is take a look at this excerpt perhaps you can tell but if not then you simply must pick up the book and read.

“Even later, on the thirteen nights that followed this one, instinctively they stuck to the Small Things. The Big Things ever lurked inside. They knew that there was nowhere for them to go. They had nothing. No future. So they stuck to the small things”.

Have you read The God of Small Things? Would You?

Kemibon

IN MY 100 YEARS-DAYO ADEOYE

Hallo  Darling Readers!

Kemi here. I am not really sure what my problem is! I have been annoyingly lazy and lacking in creativity. I finally finished reading Anne of Green Gables but alas it’s incredibly difficult for me to put fingers to keyboard and just tap out my impressions about the beautiful classic tale. I do apologize.

However, while my lazy mind is still getting itself together I have this energetic and powerful poem/spoken word from a multi talented young lady to share with you all. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (I wish I could write like that) she’s such an amazing creator of everything good. Her poem is so profound, sad and regretfully short! Can we get an encore? I see so much in this poem…black lives taken recklessly, I see history, I feel the pain, the gore, the misery of the tree…take a look at Dayo’s poem. What do you see?

 

In my 100 years…

A Slam Piece by Dayo Adeoye

In my 100 years, I’ve seen

the tribe that had once planted me

Become a dying minority

They called me strength, they called me god

I flourished in ancestral love

But all that’s left is just a trail of tears

In my 100 years, I’ve been

a haven for the branded men

The step after the waded waters

The symbol of free sons and daughters

Let me absorb the pain you see

Like I do the sun

In my 100 years,

I’ve failed to clean

The man dangled up under me

Have you ever seen scorched hair and flesh?

Or a father with rope round his neck?

I have.

In my 100 years,

I’ve cried

Regretful that I still stand high

I documented live

the day they died….

(pause)

…..You’ll never understand the grief of me

Me being a tree.

 

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