Sunday, August 25, 2019

#BookReview: Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin


3.5/5 Book Emojis

Format Used: 


Publisher - Penguin Books 

Pages - 150

Link to Amazon


"I scarcely know how to describe that room. It became, in a way, every room I had ever been in and every room I find myself in hereafter will remind me of Giovanni’s room."
Animated GIFGiovanni‘s Room is a book about an American man named David who decides to move to Paris to start a new life. One day, in a mutual friend’s bar, he meets this Italian bartender named Giovanni and feels things he otherwise considered sinful and immoral. Through the course of the book, we see David’s journey and acceptance of his desires and we see how things with Giovanni take an unexpected turn affecting David’s life in unfortunate ways. 

I took up this book after accepting recommendations on queer classics through the centuries. James Baldwin, a black American man who provided his support for the Gay Liberation and Civil Rights Movement, is easily considered an iconic voice otherwise marginalised. He lived for a notable period in Paris and this experience is beautifully captured in the book. 

I personally felt that this book, like Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, was casually sexist. Though maybe not true to the perceptions of the author, but very illustrative of the mindset of the gay community who grew spiteful of women after being expected to have relations with them in a highly heteronormative society. 

Conclusion: I really liked it mostly because it is very reflective of one of my own past relationship with this particular person and how things don’t always go right even when there is attraction between the two people.