Sunday, April 22, 2007
27. "Go Tell It On the Mountain" - James Baldwin
Told mainly through a night of spiritual cleansing at a Christian tarry, this semi-autobiographical novel shows how religion affected the black community, from the end of slavery through the first experiences of northern snobbery.
Someone mentioned in an earlier comment that this book opened up an insight into a whole world he wouldn't know without reading. I felt the same way. There is that stereotype of black churches where people cry out, "Amen!" and speak in tongues. This book takes that stereotype and spins it on its head.
John, the 14-year-old son of the preacher, wonders why he can't go to movies or dance to music. His complaints seem slight after reading about his father's history, as well as his mother's and aunt's -- all stories that reflect upon his own hidden desires.
I remember singing this hymn at Bible camp and was surprised that it never shows up in the story. Purposeful, smart writing.
4.0 out of 5.0 Rock Mountain Mudslides.
Banned Book: Use of the word "nigger." Too much truth for 1950s south.