Reviews

Go Tell It on the Mountain, by James Baldwin

lau_charest's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

merrikh's review against another edition

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slow-paced

5.0

brynnheart's review against another edition

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challenging dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

eliiiiiiizabthh's review against another edition

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5.0

Heartbreaking. Classic. I am sure that at the time of its publishing it was very groundbreaking, though some of what he writes about is common now (ie the violence of religious parents against gay children). The story is told through the alternating views of the characters in the story, each of whom has their own demons.

luxxybee97's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional informative reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

 
4.5 stars 
 
tl;dr – this book is poetry… P O E T R Y …! 
 
 
   Go Tell It on the Mountain is a memoir that’s not a memoir, a collection of memories which rise like vengeful spectres out of the mists of history to torment and haunt the present. And no door can stop them, no church can provide sanctuary against these dark ghosts that persist in interrupting us, who do not cower away from the light of God but instead seek to blot it out like a hand covering the sun. It’s in this darkness that the characters try to find – and sometimes succeed in finding – God, but this is not a god of endless love and devotion. This is a god whose love appears conditional, whose love blazes like a fire that strips the flesh away from you and sears your bones. 
 
   The prose in Go Tell It on the Mountain is way more poetic than I could ever hope to be in this review. It’s like reading the Bible rewritten for the 20th century, awesome and terrifying and gripping all at once. It shows no restraint in how deep it dives into the characters’ psyches – be they John or Gabriel or Florence or Elizabeth – but it does so in such a way that, even if we are being told what to think (and peep the ironic dogma in that), it’s still really captivating. The stories of these characters too – especially John’s final battle for his soul in the closing of the book – wowed me at how much they can do in only about 50-70 pages a piece, and I definitely now want to read the rest of James Baldwin’s works to see how they compare to this one. It was just so dark and intense and at the same time, so resilient and so strong… The fact that he did it so succinctly is just incredible as well. Seriously, if I can ever write anything even a tenth as powerful as Go Tell It on the Mountain, I would be a very happy camper. Or happy worshipper, to keep the theme running. 


 

tabitabitabi's review against another edition

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5.0

It amazes me that this is Baldwin’s first novel. It’s an American Classic for a reason, this book is rich, nuanced, and at times brutal in its story telling.

This book is beautiful because it comes from truth, Baldwin’s writing always strikes me as honest but never harsh. He was truly one of our best writers, I will be devouring all his works.

lynxpardinus's review against another edition

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challenging emotional reflective

4.5


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marlo42's review against another edition

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5.0

This book is excellent. The prose is crackling with energy (and it’s beautiful language to boot), the characters leap off the pages and I found the structure of the book pretty interesting as well. I have to read more Baldwin after reading this.

emzireads's review against another edition

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challenging emotional sad tense slow-paced

4.5


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margaret_adams's review against another edition

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A song of a book. Apparently Baldwin wrote this while holed up for a winter “armed with two Bessie Smith records and a typewriter” and dang, you can hear it.