Jessica's Reviews > Giovanni's Room

Giovanni's Room by James     Baldwin
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's review
Apr 16, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended to Jessica by: usual.
Recommended for: aspiring artists, gays and lesbians, aspiring travelers, many more
Read in June, 2008

Eros and Thanatos: Sex and Death. The mystery of inescapable human allure to these two themes paired--whether real life or fiction--is ineffable. Baldwin has conquered this couple, at least in the sense of his lucid understandings of them together, with his striking insightfulness to human nature. This book begins smack in medias res, you're left with this question of "what happens" throughout the whole thing, and you never tire of wanting. Wanting the answer to the initial mystery, wanting the selfish and wanton protagonist to...make the better decision, wanting the "antagonist," if you will, to win his battle. I'm left a bit in awe at how much I love each of these characters--no matter how good or moral their integrity--and in total disappointment that teaching this novel is totally out of the question because of its "controversial" subject matter. Ironically, I don't remember a single curse word, and the lovemaking is beautifully depicted; Baldwin doesn't even need to go into detail because of his ability to profoundly wrap his reader emotionally. Although I didn't sob as I did near the end of A Thousand Splendid Suns, I am left with a certain hollow despair. A sorrow, yet tiny triumph for this protagonist, a screaming lamentation for another, and a balloon-like hope for yet another. And an aching desire for James Baldwin's genius. Maybe God IS black and gay after all. Won't these Southerners be disappointed.

((READ IT!! Especially if you think people are born gay or if you've ever wondered what it's like to struggle with being it.))
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Eros and Thanatos, ineffable, Medias Res, these Southerners--Puhleeeeezeee!

While your overblown and haughty review was amusing, I'd say you would benefit by looking at this story objectively--that is not from the vantage point of the wounded (gay/struggling) sophomoric artist, but from a sexual-orientation-neutral point of view. What we see from this view is the same old love story (X loves Y, X loves Z, X wants it all but can't have it, blah, blah, blah....) only it is a beautifully rendered work by a great writer about a gay man and that is what makes it interesting to people who are gay, staight, or in between.

P.S., Men who screw other men are gay and that is true whether they are born that way, recruited, confused, or from the South.

Jessica What!? lol

message 3: by Philip (new) - added it

Philip I would like to trade!!!! just if you're keen.

Jessica Philip wrote: "I would like to trade!!!! just if you're keen."

Well, I would certainly be willing, but I gave the book away already...sorry! Get it though; it's good. =)

message 5: by Philip (new) - added it

Philip *Insert a bitter rant here* Not actually, I'll try and scout it out at a garage sale!! Books are really expensive nowadays, but your advice is duly noted.

Anyhu, check out a japanese author named Haruki Murakami. Life-changing stuff!


message 6: by Philip (new) - added it

Philip Oh and thank you for the reply. :)

Jessica Philip wrote: "Oh and thank you for the reply. :)"

No need to thank--thank YOU for the suggestion! I'm always open for good suggestions. And I teach world lit, so Japanese is good! =)

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