This review is a little bit different than the others because it’s not about a book I enjoyed.
Plot: Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-elusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel.
Named an Oprah’s Book Club Selection. Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
My rating: 2/5 stars (ouch)
My review: This book is part of Oprah’s Book Club and it was one of my anticipated reads of 2018. Well, I can definitely say that it was one of my worst read of that year too.
I think I expected way too much from this book. The plot seemed quite interesting and promising and sadly it did not deliver. I felt that the subject was not as thoroughly developped as it could have been. As a black person, I was excited with what it promised: the “deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America”. Those are topics that really hit home and I usually tend to stay away from those topics because I’m strong-opinionated about certain topics relating “race” (which is a word I reject. I really stepped out of my comfort zone
and I shouldn’t have. That’s probably why I disliked the book because I could not relate as much as I would have liked; even though a lot of important things were said. I did enjoy the epistolary part because I’m a sucker for love letters and it what really interesting to see how Celestial and Roy’s relationship deteriorated through those letters.
My main problem lies in the characters (development). Their marriage was not believable from the beginning for me, so I did not care at all when it went to hell because it seemed fake anyway. I did feel a little rage for Roy so I guess I felt sympathy for him but I hated the character of Celestial so much. She felt dishonest and fake to me and I had a hard time liking her. I’m so sorry to write such a bad review because the book does contain a few good quotes and had a pleasant writing style but not good enough to distract me from the fact that the plot is disappointing and under-developed.
“But how you feel love and understand love are two different things”. – Tayari Jones