Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin – Back to the Classics Challenge

Go Tell it on the Mountain cover

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin was first published in 1954. The author’s name seemed to be popping up all the time some months ago and I realised I hadn’t read anything by him, it was time to rectify that.

Sadly I can’t say that I enjoyed this book much, it’s obviously well written but the subject matter didn’t appeal to me. I’m not keen on religion of any type, and the type depicted in the store-front church in the book, The Temple of the Fire Baptized, even less so. The hysteria and speaking in tongues really puts me off, so I was never desperate to get back to the book whenever I put it down. I realise that that must seem beside the point as after all the book is about horrific racism and its effects and charismatic religion was probably a balm for some. The book was no doubt a trail blazer in its day, and must have been painful for Baldwin to write as it is semi-autobiographical and features a lot of child abuse in the shape of beatings – beating the devil out.

I’ll definitely be trying something else by Baldwin though.

I read this one for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2021 which is hosted by Karen K at Books and Chocolate.

10 thoughts on “Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin – Back to the Classics Challenge

  1. I’ve never read anything by James Baldwin either, but this book doesn’t sound very appealing to me at all. Maybe I’ll try one of his others.

    • Helen,
      I can see that back when it was first published the subject matter must have been so unusual, maybe groundbreaking but it doesn’t make for a comfortable read, and that’s what I want at the moment.

  2. Oh dear, this is the next book we’re reading for a review-along and fourteen of us have signed up for it! Haha, I’ll just have to hope that some of us enjoy it… 😉 I’m not religious either, but I quite enjoy reading about religions, so fingers crossed.

    • FictionFan

      I’m now wondering if I signed up for this and then completely forgot and just got stuck into it! Going by the Goodreads reviews there’s a good chance that lots of you will really like it.

  3. I really liked it Katrina, but can totally see why you didn’t. The only other Baldwin I’ve read is Giovanni’s Room, which I can recommend if you’d like to try more by him. Very sad and moving, but no religion! (At least, none that I remember…)

    • Madame Bibi Lophile,
      I’m definitely going to read more by him, thanks for suggesting Giovanni’s Room, I’ll give that one a go. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

  4. It was my first (and probably my last) Baldwin. I felt the middle portion was the best part of the book in its protrayal of life for Blacks in the early 20th century, but the rest was a bit “out there” for me… and I’m a practicing Christian!

    • Kelly,
      I will give him another go, but I must admit that I was disappointed with this one, probably because I’ve always heard that he was a great writer. I’m presuming that a lot of it is autobiographical. I think maybe he just had to get this one off his chest! Thanks for dropping by.

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