Dana, the first narrator, is the daughter who knows. She's also the secret daughter, the one who lives in shame and has to watch her mom mooning after this man who doesn't even live with them. Her only consolation is that she's the "pretty" one, but pretty doesn't make up for not feeling loved, and as she watches Chaurisse, she becomes obsessed with this sister who doesn't know she exists, to the point where she starts finding excuses to be where she is.
You know that eventually they're going to meet, and that it's probably going to be explosive, and I think the author definitely comes to the clutch with the drama, because when the inevitable happened, I actually exclaimed aloud. As other reviewers have said, the end is a bit of a lull, but 85% of the book had me figuratively gripping the pages, waiting to see what would happen next, and I did like the ending, even though it's a quieter ending than I expected for a book like this. Also, the 1980s nostalgia is EVERYTHING. In some ways, Jones's book reminded me a lot about Jess Lourey's. I think Tayari Jones does for Georgia in the 80s what Jess Lourey does for Minnesota in the 70s.
I'd seen AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE floating around and the summary didn't interest me at all, but after reading and loving this book so much, I might have to check that one out, as well. Ms. Jones has also been writing the introductions for a lot of really great books, like Delores's Phillips's THE DARKEST CHILD, Ann Perry's THE STREET, and Alice Walker's MERIDIAN. With THE DARKEST CHILD, I could definitely see the influences that book may have had on this work, so if you, like me, end up falling in love with this author and end up needing more, more, more, check out those three aforementioned books, as well.
4.5 out of 5 stars