A modern fairytale with a twist

He did it on one knee.

One knee, with a nervous grin on his face and a velvet box in his shaking hands, asking you the Question of a Lifetime. You’d talked about this day but it was still a surprise and now you have planning to do, just the two of you. Or, as in “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones, three…

The last time Roy Othaniel Hamilton enjoyed a truly happy evening was about a year-and-a-half after he married his wife, Celestial, the only woman (after his Mama) that he ever really loved. It’s true that they’d been arguing that night – they argued and made up, argued and made up a lot then – but things were going well. They’d even talked about having a baby on that last happy evening before the police broke down the door of their room at Piney Woods Motel and arrested Roy for a rape he didn’t commit.

His life was supposed to be with Celestial. He believed that all along.

They’d met in college: his buddy, Andre, was her best friend and Dre introduced them but Roy and Celestial didn’t click until years later. They met again, dated, and the rest was, well, not exactly smooth. He cheated on her a time or two. She’d freeze him out when she caught him, but she knew she was his woman.

Celestial also knew the man she married, and Roy wasn’t capable of raping some woman six years older than his own mother. But a jury wouldn’t believe her, wouldn’t believe him, would only believe an old woman who pointed a finger … and there you go: Roy ’s sentence was 12 years in a Louisiana penitentiary.

And, oh, they wrote letters, but they were apart longer than they weren’t and eventually, Celestial wanted to – needed to – move on. She found somebody else, somebody who was her future and her past, but she was still Roy ’s wife.

And when Roy got out of prison seven years early, he hoped to remind her of that fact.

There’s a reason that Oprah picked “An American Marriage” as one of her books. Yes, this novel is that good.

Really, though, author Tayari Jones tells a simple story of boy-meets-girl-marries-her. It’s a fairy tale, modernized; a romance with a twist: Roy idealizes his marriage, while Celestial is a realist. He’s your basic Nice Guy. She’s been raised to take care of herself and speak her mind. His memories differ quite a bit from hers, and seeing both sides through their eyes makes their story better. Add a situation that hints at the unimaginable, and some additional, sometimes irritating, characters with influence and you’ve got a book filled with a tale that’ll keep you dry-mouthed, page-turning, and right on the edge of hollering.

This is a novel that unabashedly plays with your senses of right and not-quite-right. It also plays with your emotions, if you’ve ever been in love – so have a handful of tissues nearby. “An American Marriage” could bring you to your knees.

[flipp]

More in Life

Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and Page Carson Foster. Photo credit Washington State Legislative Support Services
Carson Foster serves as page in Washington State House

The following was submitted to the Reporter: Carson Foster, a student at… Continue reading

Matt Kidd. Submitted photo
True strength has no limits

Covington resident Matt Kidd shares his story about kidney disease to help others during National Kidney Month.

Submitted photos from Kela Hall
Inspiring young women

The KD Hall Foundation honored Women’s History Month by having empowering and… Continue reading

Two commissioner positions available this year

For The Reporter The Tukwila Pool Metropolitan Park District (TPMPD) is a… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Tukwila Police Department’s
                                Facebook page
Tukwila Fire raises more than $8,000 for the LLS Stairclimb

The crew climbed up 69 flights of stairs at the Columbia Tower in Seattle.

Troop 398 newest Eagle Scout presentation

The Tukwila Historical Society is pleased to announce our volunteer and Tukwila… Continue reading

Submitted photo from the Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks Tre Flowers visits Tyee

He went there to present a $10,000 grant to the school

Measles outbreak: Officials urge vaccinations

Editor’s note: Measles is highly contagious. If you think you or your… Continue reading

The Tukwila Historical Society has been the location for the Japanese Sister City Gift Exchange Exhibit for the past several years. The city of Tukwila had many of the artifacts in storage and by joint effort it was decided to place the items in the museum for all to enjoy. For a viewing of the exhibit, please feel free to contact the Tukwila Historical Society to arrange a visit. Photo by Louise Jones-Brown
Japanese influence in the Duwamish Valley

In 1907, prior to Tukwila’s incorporation, the T.S. Unos family arrived from… Continue reading

For whodunit lovers, this short story is a gleefully-dark delight

Growing older is a very good thing. First of all, there’s a… Continue reading

Winter safety tips

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office give safety tips about the winter weather.

Search no more, you’ll want to read ‘Hero Dogs’

You felt like such a loser. It was a feeling that didn’t… Continue reading