This book by Tayari Jones is one of Oprah’s Book Club’s 2018 selections, so it’s beem a very popular read. For me this was another one of those cultural immersions, not so much about entering the lives and a marriages of young, African-American characters, but entering the culture of the Southeastern United States. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and I am continually interested in just how different the regions of our country are from one another. This book opened my eyes to some of the conventions and patterns of the contemporary Southeast.
It also reminded me, sadly, of the continual issue of racism in our whole country. It might be more pronouced in the Southeast, but it is equally as present here in the Northwest. It is very interesting to me why human beings need other human beings to look and act exactly like them. It is much more fun to live in a diverse culture than in one where everyone behaves exactly the same. Perhaps it is about fear of things going wrong, or the need to have our every action confirmed by our environment and community. This book lifts up these issues as it follows one marriage as it affects the lives of everyone around it.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot itself, as there are surprises and twists and turns with every new chapter. The author does a really nice job of distinguishing each characters personality so you’re always clear who is speaking. But it also jumps back and forth from past to present, and those distinctions aren’t as clear.
This is worth reading, and I hope you’ll pick it up!