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If Beale Street Could Talk
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Archive: Other Books > If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin - 4.5 stars

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message 1: by Theresa (last edited Mar 29, 2019 04:34AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Theresa | 6128 comments The experience of reading this is a stab to the heart and a bludgeoning of the soul, as the most expertly, exquisitely rendered blues will evoke. This is a haunting youthful love story, a Romeo and Juliet that endure against hatred, racism, adversity, despair, somehow keeping hope and love alive. The highs are heavenly, and the lows are rock bottom, yet you keep reading, drawn into the story, joining, as the reader of their story with hope in your heart, into the battle being fought so valiantly. Through this incredibly poignant love story of 19 year old Tish and 21 year old Fonny who is falsely accused of rape, James Baldwin provides a searing picture of racism in our justice system. Baldwin's writing is a gift to mankind.

I actually rate this 4.5 stars, and not 5 stars only because I found sections of the short Part II, entitled Zion, a bit obscure. Analogies are made that escaped me, probably because they were biblical. I may have to study up a bit, starting with what exactly does Baldwin mean by Zion, then revisit.

Originally planned as my book for Black History Month, it got pushed aside until now, short and wonderful as it is. If you have never read Baldwin, this is a good place to start. While set in the early 1970s, when NYC was a dirty, crime-ridden, corrupt, seething bankrupt mess of a city, and the time I arrived here as a college student, it is also timeless, completely recognizable today.


message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments I have been wanting to watch this movie and just saw that it is on Hulu. I may have to watch it tonight....


Meli (melihooker) | 3064 comments I just picked this up last year when I saw the movie was coming out.

It's short, but is it a quick read?
I thought about starting, but kept thinking the short page count would be misleading.


Theresa | 6128 comments Meli wrote: "I just picked this up last year when I saw the movie was coming out.

It's short, but is it a quick read?
I thought about starting, but kept thinking the short page count would be misleading."


Very quick read. It is 197 pages. I read close to 100 of them while getting a spa pedicure last night. A friend of mine who is an extremely slow reader started and finished in a day.


Meli (melihooker) | 3064 comments Theresa wrote: "Meli wrote: "I just picked this up last year when I saw the movie was coming out.

It's short, but is it a quick read?
I thought about starting, but kept thinking the short page count would be mi..."


Oh wow, that is good to know for future planning, thanks!


message 6: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8192 comments I heard the move was incredible!


Theresa | 6128 comments Amy wrote: "I heard the move was incredible!"

I definitely want to see it. The book is very visual, I thought.


message 8: by Nikki (new) - added it

Nikki | 661 comments Thanks for the recommendation Theresa, I'm adding this one to my TBR.


Tracy (tstan) | 1174 comments I’m so glad you liked it! I love James Baldwin- everything I’ve read so far is engaging and thought-provoking.


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