Fiction, We Chit Chat

We Chit Chat: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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But home isn’t where you land; home is where you launch. You can’t pick your home any more than you can choose your family. In poker, you get five cards. Three of them you can swap out, but two are yours to keep: family and native land.”

Taynement: So what did you think?

Leggy: I thought it was okay.

Taynement: Wow. Just okay? I absolutely loved it

Leggy: I have to say. I really didn’t like the blurb the publishers wrote for this book. I hate that they told us exactly what was going to happen so I spent like the first 50 pages just waiting for the “event”. It made my reading experience seriously unbearable.
You know I had the hardcover so the blurb was literally there. I didn’t even go seeking any spoilers

Taynement: Oh per usual, I didn’t read one. Well I’ve always said that you’re a destination vs. the journey person. Because, I don’t think the actual event and circumstance mattered and was more about everyone’s reactions to it. What I loved about the book is that as I get older I’ve been saying how human relations can be so complicated and I think she captured it with this story. The complexity of it all, especially within a marriage.

Leggy: I had intense anxiety just waiting for the event to happen. I was literally like “here it comes, here it comes”. Anyway, what did you think of their marriage before the event? Did you think they were even going to make it even if the event never happened?

Taynement: I don’t think we had enough information to know if they would or not. Roy came off as a fuckboy, albeit a reformed one, but they did seem to have a connection.

Leggy: He really did. I didn’t quite like him

Taynement: Even though, as we got to know him better, he seemed like the embodiment of “masculinity so fragile”

Leggy: Yes, there were so many moments I was just like “screw this guy”

Taynement: But here’s where I give kudos to the writer. It was a complicated scenario. Yes he was in jail but they all knew he was innocent and that has to be the worst thing ever. I give kudos because I could see both sides. I certainly didn’t expect him to be rational.

Leggy: I know the author made it clear to us that he was innocent right from the beginning but a part of me only 100% believed it right at the end when he made that gesture. It redeemed him in my eye and I thought that was the absolute best way to resolve the situation

Taynement: Him not being innocent would have been such a cheap twist to have.

Leggy: What did you think of Andre? Were you ever mad at him at some point? Did you ever agree with Celeste’s father?

Taynement: I didn’t like Andre. I really thought the whole thing was a dick move. And I just saw him as a weak man

Leggy: I hated him so much, What a weak man! You had all your life to get with her.
All your damn life and you waited till this situation happened? I agreed with her dad.

Taynement: I’m trying not to give spoilers but I don’t even care that he’d loved her this whole time. So it was circumstantial love?

Leggy: He’s an arsehole. God and then that whole thing about going to talk to him first to inform him? That was such a dick move. Celeste owed him that trip, she should have been the one to tell him first. I was just disgusted with the both of them for that

Taynement: Roy Snr. for the win, btw! Anyway, If Celeste was as fierce and independent as they intended her to be she wouldn’t have been in this pickle, she came off as unsure. But then I thought of the speech her dad gave her saying she was one of those “lucky” people who’ve never been through much.

Leggy: That’s why her arse thinks she’s so strong and independent when she’s just playing at it

Taynement: Oh there was something I really liked about the couple. Where people have a safe word for sex. I liked that they had a safe word for when their fights were getting too intense. They really seemed to love each other. But it was so new, so who knows if it was young love.

Leggy: Yes, loved that! I’m going to adopt that. I think Roy was just impressed with her and her family. I don’t think they were suited but who knows? What did you think of the whole situation with Davina?

Taynement: I thought him and Davina were convenient, but I liked it. Also, about just being impressed by her family pedigree, that’s a possibility. Roy seemed like he was fighting himself. One of those African Americans who thought themselves bougie because they are educated with money in the pocket, when he was just a big ball of insecurity.
I won’t mention some of the harsh things he wrote in his letters to Celestial but I noted two quotes after his release that showed the kind of man he is. First when he is trying to win her back and he says “Ask me and I’ll forgive you” I’m like excuse you?

Leggy:Omg!! I caught this too. It infuriated me. Like what?!!! You were gone for five years and you need to forgive her? The nerve!

Taynement: And second, when he thought “I swear I didn’t want to hurt Celestial but I needed to know if I could”. This goes back to what I meant about this book encapsulating all of human complexities. There were a lot of emotions and common human feelings expressed so well. I feel like in the hands of a less skilled author, this book could easily have been a mess. There were like 500 different stories going. Family secrets included and not one time did it feel convoluted

Leggy: I think this book would be fantastic for a book club (coincidentally Oprah just made this part of her book club). So many themes to explore and discuss
Is this the author’s first book?

Taynement: Nope. Apparently she has 3 other books. I guess this book helps with your reading goal on reading more African American and female writers that you mentioned here. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was an adult book for lack of a better word. Always good when a book meets it’s hype.

Leggy: Yes, it definitely does. I’m conflicted on this book. Discussing it with you now I’m totally on board and I’m talking about all these layers and human complexities, but when I step away from it I feel a tad bit underwhelmed? I feel like I need to sit with this for a few more days but anyway for now, I gave it three stars and would definitely recommend. Also, can I just say that the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS in person?

Taynement: It is? nice. I gave it four stars.

Let us know your thoughts if you’ve read it. We’d appreciate your comments!


Taynement & Leggy

5 thoughts on “We Chit Chat: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones”

  1. I actually enjoyed this book. I listened to the audiobook and it was fantastic. I hated Andre. If he loved her, why did he wait so long? It just felt soooo unfair to me. Yeah maybe they were meant to be together but at whose expense ? Yeah he was there for her through it all but he’s still a douche.

    Celeste should have gone to Roy. She should have told him straight up. So much for miss independent. She’s spoiled. She came off ass fragile to me. But I also understood how hard it must have been for her and I can’t hikd it against her .

    I think Roy was a guy who wanted to be good but he had his demons. I appreciate him still fighting for his marriage. The part where he said “ask me and I’ll forgive you”, I interpreted it as him really wanting to save their marriage. Not for his own ego but just so she could see that he was willing to start afresh. It was such a tragedy that he went to jail for a crime he did not commit but I’m glad he got some kind of happy ending .

    Ohhh and the fact that Walter was his father ???? That was a pretty cool twist.


    1. I did not see that Walter twist coming at all! what are the chances? I agree with all your analysis here apart from the “ask me and i’ll forgive you” one, it came off like it was so benevolent of him to forgive her of what he saw as her infidelity. idk. it rubbed me the wrong way. thanks for commenting! come back!


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