Air Date

April 15th at 12 p.m.

Discussion Questions

  1. What does the title, An American Marriage, mean to you? And, what is American about Celestial and Roy’s story?
  2. Did issues raised in this book cause you to consider the American criminal justice system differently? How are people of color impacted differently in our system of incarceration than white people?
  3. How did you feel about this marriage before Roy went to prison? 
  4. Celestial is a professional artist. Why did the author choose that profession for her? And, how does her creation of “poupees” relate to larger themes in the book?
  5. Having children was a decision every character grappled with in this novel. Why? How was that decision different for each of them?
  6. What was the effect of prison both on Roy and the people who love him?
  7. Do you feel that Celestial and Roy fought hard for his freedom? Why or why not?
  8. Roy’s mother remains loyal to her son throughout his incarceration. Why do you think she felt compelled to ask him if he did it? 
  9. When Roy writes to Celestial “I’m innocent," why does she write back, “I’m innocent, too."?
  10. Roy says later about prison:  “If you go in innocent, you don’t come out that way." What does Roy lose? 
  11. Discuss the history of the Piney Woods Inn, both for Roy’s family and the South. 
  12. Early in the book, Roy discusses being part of Generation 2.0 in Atlanta. What does he mean by that? And, does the system cause him to backslide? How do Celestial and Davina differ and how do they impact this trajectory?
  13. What do you think about the ending of the book and how does it relate to many people and families in our society today?
  14. Some readers have finished this book strongly on either Team Roy or Team Andre.  Whose team are you on? Do you think the author favored one over the other? What about Team Celestial?