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.


Anonymous said...

I remember reading this in AP English. It was the only bookt hat I remembered. Mrs. H got in trouble for teaching it.


Arukiyomi said...

hey I notice you've got some Ellison lined up to read. I'm actually reading Invisible Man right now and it is superb. If you liked Mountain you'll love Invisible - more insights into that world Baldwin revealed to me. I should have a review up within the week so look out for that if you want.

Kristin Dodge said...

Excellent... I'll wait to read your review. I find I'm easily swayed.

heidijane said...

I've just read this book too, and I had some similar feelings about it, so I guess I should be checking out The Invisible Man, too...