An American Marriage
Recently, I passed a newsstand and the Time Magazine Special Edition caught my eye. There, on a stark white cover was the title, "The Science of Marriage." If I hadn't been reading Tayari Jones' novel, An American Marriage, I would not have noticed the cover. My first thought was, "There's no way Tayari Jones would reduce marriage to a science!"
Through the voices of three characters, Tayari Jones explores human complexity, not only in marriage, but in love, friendship, and family. We first meet Roy, an African-American man who has done all the "right" things: he has worked hard, graduated from an excellent college, and has been successful in the business world. He has grown up in a stable family with the full support of his mother and stepfather. Roy has fallen in love with Celestial, an artistic woman from a prominent and wealthy African-American family who has launched a successful line of handmade African-American dolls. Andre, the son of a single mother whose father left the family when Andre was young, has grown up next door to Celestial and is her life-long friend.
Roy and Celestial get married, but 18 months into their marriage, Roy is arrested for a crime he didn't commit, is subjected to an unfair trial, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. His incarceration has a profound effect on all three characters, and in particular on his marriage with Celestial. The devastating effects of racism are a force throughout the novel.
Author Amy Bloom has noted that "Tayari Jones understands love and loss and writes with passion and precision about the forces that move us all from one to another." With the characters we ponder: Who do we love, and, Why do we love them? What is marriage, and what are the demands it places on a couple and their children? What are the effects of a father's influence and presence in the home? There are no definitive answers, Jones tells us, and in the end we accept the consequences of the decisions we have made, as have her characters.
Big Little Lies
After all the Golden Globe hype around the "limited television series", Big Little Lies, I was intrigued. We watched one episode but then I had to listen to the book, because the book is always better.
Being past the age of having school aged children, I wasn't sure I would enjoy the characters. But they grow on you. They are struggling with too much money, too little money, second marriages, adolescents, and domestic violence. They pull together to help each other in ways that make you smile.
In their second installment, Chelsea Clinton and illustrator Alexandra Boiger have created another excellent celebration of women around the world. Like the first book, She Persisted Around the World features contemporary and historical figures including Sor Juana Inés De La Cruz, a writer from Mexico; Mary Verghese, a doctor from India; Sisleide Lima do Amor, an athelet from Brazil; and Yuan Yuan Tan a dancer from China.
The text, illustrations, and reiteration of the inspiration phrase "she persisted" make this a fabulous addition to everyone's library. We have eight signed copies in stock that are available to order online. Orders will be filled on a first come, first served basis. For signed copies only, please no phone calls. After we fulfill the first eight orders, we will ask whether you are interested in a copy with a signed book plate.