Reviews of ‘Behind Her Eyes’ by Sarah Pinborough and ‘An American Marriage’ by Tayari Jones

Behind Her Eyes

I came to this book as a result of the Netflix series.  I read the book and watched the series.

I talk about this book in a previous live on my Facebook page, so you can go and watch the video.  However I’ll go into a little more depth here.

The novel is told from two different perspectives.  That of the fragile Adele who is married to David and that of Louise – a single mother who lives in London.

Louise meets David in a bar one night, they hit it off and share a kiss outside before he runs off.  To Louise’s horror, the next day when she goes to work, she discovers that David is her boss.  He is a psychiatrist, and she is his secretary. 

When Adele then befriends Louise and Louise becomes further involved with David, the story takes a more sinister turn.

Adele is certainly not all that she seems.  This novel takes you on a rollercoaster ride of who is telling the truth and who is lying.   The tension does build exquisitely and it is definitely a page turner.

What I couldn’t’ decide with the crazy twist at the end was whether I loved it or hated it!  The ending is so mad that you really do go WHAT??!

This is clearly the author’s intention and to that end she did a magnificent job!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

There’s something so juicy about reading someone else’s letters.  It’s like getting a private peek into their innermost thoughts.  Tayari Jones uses this device to great effect in this prize-winning novel.

Roy and Celestial are a recently married couple on the up.  Both of their careers are going well, and life is good.  That all changes one night when Roy is dragged out of his bed in a motel they are staying at together, and accused of a rape he didn’t commit.

Roy is found guilty and receives a twelve-year prison sentence.   The novel then changes from first person narrative to letters exchanged between the couple while Roy is in jail. 

Tayari Jones deals with the issues of marriage, race (Ray is African American) love and fidelity.  It is exquisitely written with the emotions of Ray and Celestial’s souls being laid wide open for the reader.    The letters are raw and heart breaking. 

Marriage can be a compromise at the best of times, but when put under this kind of pressure, individual tensions come raging to the surface.

Roy has to question everything he has ever known about his own identity, that of his wife and the fabric of his entire life.

This is a beautiful portrayal of what happens to people when everything they love is torn from them, when they have to question everything they thought they knew, and what it means to love.

I highly recommend this novel.  It is worthy of all the praise it has received.