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?
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.