Tag Archives: Book Club

Review: Go Tell It On The Mountain

Go Tell It On The Mountain

Go Tell It On The Mountain
By James Baldwin
Vintage, 9780345806543, 2013, 272pp.

The Short of It:

A beautifully written, semi-autobiographical peek into the life of James Baldwin.

The Rest of It:

In one of the greatest American classics, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves. ~ Indiebound

James Baldwin had been coming up a lot in my book club’s  various social media feeds and we had not really read him before, so when it came time to select a book, Go Tell It On The Mountain was chosen. From the short blurb above, you’d think that the story follows this young boy through his self-discovery process and it does, but there are other stories told along the way. Stories about his relationship with his step-father, how religion impacted him growing up, how the misfortune of others affected his family down the line. These stories are loosely woven together but not for one big epiphany at the end. I feel that the end is left for the reader to interpret as we all had different takes on where the character would go from there.

This story encouraged some thoughtful discussion so it worked well as a book club pick. I also enjoyed the writing. It had a flow to it that appealed to me as I was reading it and since it’s semi-autobiographical, I learned about Baldwin’s experience with the Pentecostal Church and how he struggled with his sexual identity.  There’s a lot to consider here.

Have you read it?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Dear Edward

Dear Edward

Dear Edward
By Ann Napolitano
Dial Press Trade Paperback, 9781984854803, Feb 2021, 384pp.

The Short of It:

Young Edward is the sole survivor of a plane crash. His story is heartbreaking but hopeful too.

The Rest of It:

I knew a little about Dear Edward before starting it, but I wasn’t sure how Edward’s story would be told without it being too sad or depressing. I learned immediately that Edward was the sole survivor of a crash that killed 191 people including his mother, father, and brother, Jordan. The story is told in alternating chapters that take you from Edward’s current situation, to flashbacks of him on the plane. As the story progresses, those chapters taking place on the plane eventually lead up to the cause of the crash and the reactions of the passengers as it was happening.

This was an interesting way to tell this story. It allowed me to feel the sense of panic that everyone on that plane felt, but it was broken up into palatable pieces that you could digest without too much trouble. The sadness that Edward experiences is gently shared through his inability to sleep in his Aunt and Uncle’s house, his quiet reflection when asked to help one of the school administrator’s with a plant project, his close friendship with the young neighbor next door. His sadness can be felt in all the day-to-day interactions, especially the memories of his brother, Jordan.

So where does the hope come from? Without giving too much away, Edward is put into a position to help others and the way he goes about it, is touching. This was a nice way to move forward and to plan for the future which would be so uncertain to a young boy of 12.

I have seen some mixed reviews for this book. Many saying that they liked it but didn’t love it. I will say this, it holds you at arm’s length. Never going too deep into one part of the story and being very careful not to take you down too dark a path. I wouldn’t say the author chose to play it safe, it’s just how she chose to tell the story. Perhaps some of it was a little too convenient if hard to believe but this is a book where the “in-between” held my attention.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.