"Our marriage was a sapling graft that didn't have time to take."
Tray's last post has me hankerin for a Stranger Things re-watch (and a real whodunnit). But first, I cannot let one more day go by without sharing the book love for An American Marriage. Somehow I missed all the hype leading up to its release—it made almost every list of Most Anticipated Reads of 2018. Let's not dwell on what that says about my book blogging game as of late.
The first I heard of this gem was when a longtime friend managed to finagle me an invite to its launch party that was being held in her home. Funny thing is, I almost didn't go. It was a cold night by Vegas standards and my sweats, a cozy fire, and The Crown were all calling my name. Not to mention the fact that the only two people I'd know there would be my friend and her husband—whose hosting duties would mean I'd be forced to be social. The horror. With no legitimate excuse to skip it, the only way out was a lie...and to quote Eleven, "Friends don't lie."
So I went. Not only was it not horrible, it was one of the best evenings I've spent in a long while. Tayari Jones regaled us with stories from her past, her writing process, and how this book is already changing her life. The more she spoke and read passages aloud, the more sure I became hers isn't the only life that will be changed. With this gift of book she shines a heartbreakingly beautiful light on mass incarceration, race, marriage, and social class in America—one that is desperately needed.
This is one of those books that reminds me all over again why I love reading. For a time I am a mother who instead of worrying over my boy's grades and which college he'll go to, desperately hopes he just makes it through high school without going to jail; a man who despite playing by all the right rules, has everything snatched away in an instant; and the woman who loves him but maybe not quite enough. I'm there with Ghetto Yoda, listening to him dispense life lessons from a prison cell, and I'm standing there watching Big Roy sum up what real love looks like with some dirt and a shovel. This is why I read.
After Tayari finished speaking, we met and instantly bonded over BLTs, Boden, outlet shopping secrets, and our mutual love for staying in. What I didn't tell her is that this was one night I thanked my lucky stars I had gone out.