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Book Club Experience: A Loaded Question

Posted on May 29, 2018 at 3:10 PM

Book Club Experience: A Loaded Question

Submitted by Tami Cleckley


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones was the novel chosen for the month of May. With happiness, I opened the book, two weeks before the anticipated meeting and delved in. On the pages, I met Celestial and Roy, newly married, and before you know it, Roy is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Thus, begins Celestial’s and Roy’s journey. I wondered if their marriage would stand the test of time and couldn’t wait to meet with my sisters in the group to hear what they thought of the book.

Forward, weeks later, when Shared Thoughts met up at the hostess’ house for our monthly meeting. We were in the midst of a heated debate about Celestial’s and Andre’s affair, when a question was brought forth: How does title correlate to subject? There was a slight pause, as we considered the question. One by one, everyone answered the query. Here are a few of the remarks:

  • Alethea – Disappointed by title because there was no correlation between Title and Subject of book.  Title actually brought you away from what An American Marriage, or any marriage is. Made marriage seem negative. Characters needed therapy.    
  • Shelly – Title didn’t match up. Felt like it was a black thing, bad title for book. Author could have come up with a better title.
  • Tracey – Title very general, means different things everyone goes through.
  • Larrie – Anything that goes on in a marriage, not a good title for book.
  • Monica – Didn’t fit traditional black marriage.
  • Andrea – Only in America. A marriage is a marriage.
  • Desiree – Realistic behavior, title didn’t match what book is about.
  • Marilyn – Title didn’t go with book.
  • Sabrina – Didn’t get title. Only in America, racism, husband being railroaded by system.
  • Tami – The ups & downs of marriage

Though Shared Thoughts wasn’t too crazy over the name of the book, there was never a lull in the conversation with so many issues to discuss. On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest, the overall rating for the book we gave it… 4.75…Not bad for a book with a bad title.



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