"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Friday Quotes and a Review of IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
Th
e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

The book I am currently reading (with a summary and review):

Title: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Book Beginning: 
I look at myself in the mirror. I know that I was christened Clementine, so it would make sense if people called me Clem, or even, come to think of it, Clementine, since that's my name: but they don't. People call me Tish. I guess that makes sense, too. I'm tired, and I'm beginning to think that everything makes sense. Like, if it didn't make sense, how could it happen? But that's a terrible thought. It can only come out trouble---trouble that doesn't make sense.
Friday 56: 
I suddenly looked up into his [Fonny's] face. No one can describe this, I really shouldn't try. His face was bigger than the world, his eyes deeper than the sun, more vast than the desert, all that had happened since time began was in his face.
Summary: Tish and Fonny grew up across the street from each other. At some point they fell in love and now Tish is pregnant with Fonny's child. As soon as they can get together the funds, they will get married. But before that happens, Fonny is arrested on false accusations. Fonny's father, Tish, and her whole family try to raise the funds to get Fonny out on bail while he awaits his trial. They also try to prove his innocence with little success. Tragedy is just one step away from the whole family.

Review: The terrible tentacles of racism creep into every aspect of society and in this case, nearly destroy two families. Baldwin published this book in 1974 and one would think, reading it in 2019, that it was published this year because so little has changed---hatred based on the color of the skin, justice inequality, and yet, love flourishes.

If Beale Street Could Talk has come back into our consciousness this year due to a film which was up for several Academy Awards, and won for Best Supporting Actress. This is my first Baldwin book but it certainly won't be my last---the man could write prose. Oh my. There is one sex scene which isn't pornographic but it is quite graphic, at the same time capturing the rapture and tenderness of sex between two people who love each other. I've never read anything like that before. Well done. 

The book, however, broke my heart. I grew up in the 1970s and I was blithely blind to the horrors of racism hurled at people of color. I kept repeating the phrase in my head, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry", as if my enlightenment could change the past. 

The book is tough read for the subject matter, but a spectacular one for the writing. I think every adult should read it and then, like me, read more books by this author.

Note: I found a first edition at a used book store of If Beale Street Could Talk. It looks like the cover I have used for this post. Can you believe how plain and nondescript it is? I only read a few pages from the print book, however, preferring the audiobook read by Bahni Turpin.

-Anne

10 comments:

  1. It sounds like a magnificent book and well-written. It's painful to read about topics like these, but very important to do so.

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    1. It reminds me of several books we read in book club which make me feel so bad for our history and how awful it has been for people of color. I kept getting a feeling of dread as I knew things weren't going to work out well.

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  2. Tish does not make sense lol.... sounds like a good read though! I added you to the Linky. Happy Friday the 13th weekend!

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  3. I have wanted to read this one for quite sometime now. I have the movie queued up in my to-watch list as well It sounds like one that I am going to really love when I get to it. Maybe I will give the audio book a try as well. Thanks for sharing these.

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  4. I'm completely drawn in with those excerpts. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great weekend! :)

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  5. My daughter read this book last year and raved about it then we watched the film together. Boy is it good!

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  6. Oh, I saw the film advertised and saw it had good reviews, but I didn't realise it was based on a book.

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  7. I listened to this book earlier this year and had much the same reaction - what a remarkable novel! Have you decided which Baldwin book to read next?

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  8. One of these days I'm going to read the book and see the movie. Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren @ Always Me

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