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36 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why Stop At 5 * When He Can Receive All The * In The Galaxy
As an avid reader, I felt as though I had rediscovered the joy reading can bring after being exposed to Giovanni's Room. The book was not simply written for homosexuals. It was written to open our eyes to the possibility that perhaps, like David, we are repressing our feelings out of fear. I walked around in a daze after completing it. Baldwin had a truly amazing gift to...
Published on Dec 30 2003 by M. Dep

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3.0 out of 5 stars Noteworthy Topic, But Not Worthy of Baldwin's Reputation
Giovanni's Room was a groundbreaking novel that exposed a topic rarely talked about, which is a surprise considering how bold American writers make themselves out to be. The topic offered something, but the book overall did not startle me for its perception and often I wished to give all of the characters a swift kick in the behind for being so annoying and for reading so...
Published on July 17 1998


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5.0 out of 5 stars Why Stop At 5 * When He Can Receive All The * In The Galaxy, Dec 30 2003
By 
M. Dep (Montreal, QC Canada) - See all my reviews
As an avid reader, I felt as though I had rediscovered the joy reading can bring after being exposed to Giovanni's Room. The book was not simply written for homosexuals. It was written to open our eyes to the possibility that perhaps, like David, we are repressing our feelings out of fear. I walked around in a daze after completing it. Baldwin had a truly amazing gift to be able to convey those emotions through his characters. For anyone who has not yet picked up this book, I strongly recommend, better yet, I strongly advise you to let yourself fall into Baldwin's world.
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4.0 out of 5 stars dark story, dark self consciousness, Sept. 2 2001
By 
Jean Louis "a slow reader" (Queens, New York United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Giovanni's Room (Hardcover)
JAMES BALDWIN WROTE A NOVEL HERE, THAT JUST HAD ME THINKING ABOUT THE CONNECTIONS PEOPLE HAVE AND WHY. IT MAKES YOU TAKE A STRONG LOOK AT YOUR OWN JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE AND THE CHOICES YOU MAKE. I FELT THAT THE ENDING LEFT YOU WONDERING AS TO WHAT CHOICES THIS CHARACTER WILL MAKE NOW THAT HE HAS HAD THIS SELF-DISCOVERY. A GOOD BOOK FOR ANYONE WHO HAS A EAGERNESS TO FIND SELF.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books of last century, Aug. 27 2001
By 
Christopher Lee (Saint Petersburg, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
What I believe to be one of the most surprising and ground breaking novels of the twentieth century. Everything from Baldwin's style to his plot to his rivetting characters makes this book an intoxication. There is so much energy in this book, so much suspense, and so much stuggle. This book I find the most intriguing of Baldwin's books second only to Another Country. A Must Read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful prose. A true classic!, June 18 2001
By 
Hilde Bygdevoll (Stavanger, Norway) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Giovanni's Room (Hardcover)
"Giovanni's Room" by James Baldwin is a beautiful novel about the struggling sexuality of a young American expatriate, David.
David is living in Paris, and while there, he meets Hella. David is quite determined to live a "normal" life, with wife, kids and all. But while Hella is away in Spain ("to consider David's proposal") David has an affair with the handsome Italian bartender, Giovanni.
Although the time setting of this novel is in the 1950's, "Giovanni's Room" is a timeless novel, and anyone regardless of time-period, can easily identify with the different characters.
Once I started reading this book, I found it almost impossible to put it down. Actually, I finished it in one long day...
In the 1950'ies it wasn't easy to be neither gay nor black. The author James Baldwin was both. I think he was immensely brave to write "Giovanni's room", especially since he did so, in a time when it was hard to be either one, black or gay. Some of the other reviewers said that "if you are not paying a lot of attention you probably wouldn't even know that the book is about homosexuality" - not to be disrespectful, although Baldwin's writing technique in this book is impressive, I have a hard time understanding how one could possibly avoid picking up that the book is about homosexuality...
Anyway, I think that "Giovanni's Room" is one of James Baldwin's best works, and I highly recommend the book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful prose, haunting story, one of the true classics, June 3 2001
By 
"ivan1138" (Tallahassee,FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Giovanni's Room (Hardcover)
Baldwin opens this, his second novel, with this quote from Whitman: "I am the man, I suffered, I was there." Indeed, Baldwin was the man and he did suffer. Baldwin was a double threat, both black and gay, and brave enough to write about what it was to be both, in a time when it wasn't fashionable to be either. A novelist, playwright, short story writer, and essayist, Baldwin wrote uncompromisingly of an America largely unrepresented in our literature. "Giovanni's Room," is simply one of the most beautifully written works of fiction produced in the last century. It deals with a young man's conflicts over his homosexuality, his feelings of isolation, despair and grudging acceptance. That it reveals emotions and sentiments which have subsquently become all to familiar in our literature and yet remains as potent as when it was published forty-five years ago, is a tribute to the genius of Baldwin. Five stars are not be enough for this cherished work. God bless you Jimmy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Author's advent into homosexuality, Sept. 4 2000
By 
LA VONDA R. STAPLES (DELLWOOD, MISSOURI United States) - See all my reviews
I first read this book when I was in the sixth grade and it was not until some time later that I realized it was about homosexuality. To be honest, I never realized this on my own - someone else told me. This is proof of the greatness of James Baldwin, he created characters, scenarios so commonplace that there was a modicum of relativity on every level of the story. He treated the situations and problems in Giovanni's Room as everyday happenstance - because they were and because they are. To deny this fact is like denying that there is air and earth and sky. No matter how unique an obstacle is for the characters Baldwin created - they are still the reality of the world in which they inhabit. So, it is their only reality and not unique to them - it is their life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Explores universal moral conflicts, June 12 2000
By A Customer
Foremost, Giovanni's Room is beautifully written. Baldwin writes incredibly well.
It would be a mistake to see this book as singularly about homosexuality (and to either read it, or not, because of that alone). Baldwin explores universal problems using a specific character and context.
What's most impressive is the way he describes, and then captures the consequences, of the moral dilemma. Though the context is homosexuality, I think similar conflict happens all too often, especially in relationships. You think you should be one thing or feel one way, and everything in your social, religious, intellectual voice tells you're right - except how you deep down feel. Baldwin has this one line about how hard it is to say "yes" to life. In that passage, I think he refers to how hard it is to reject your conventional self and embrace your deep down feelings. And this conflict could be about anything.
Then, too, Baldwin shows how, the stronger you love someone who provokes such internal conflict, the stronger your own self-hatred and hatred for that person. How terrible to most want to hurt the person you most love.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Important Novel, May 15 2000
By 
JCB (I Love Seattle!) - See all my reviews
The first word that comes to mind when I think about Giovanni's Room is "poetic." Each word is thoughtfully placed in each sentence, creating a narrative that reflects not only the profound intellectualism of Baldwin, but also his sensitivity and depth as a human being. GIOVANNI's ROOM has established itself as an important queer novel. First published over 40 years ago, it captures the life of an expatriate, David, in Paris, and reveals his transformation. His transformation is multilayered, a complex and dynaic affair, yet the most obvious, and arguably, important one, is his sexual metamorphosis--brought about by Giovanni. The relevance of this novel is that most of us can empathize with David's struggle. How could we not? Balwin's words are rich and compelling. It lifted me from my reality into David's, and by the end of the novel (the last two sentences, I've read 1000 times), I felt like I knew exactly what David had gone through, because I was there with him, and because I'd been there in my own life as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I Ever Read, May 14 2000
By A Customer
Giovanni's Room was an excellent book about how society affects peoples lives. It tells the horrific tale of a man unsure of his sexual orientation and what he thinks is normal and not. Daivd isn't sure whether he should conform to society's standards or follow his heart. It a great story of the gradually deterioration of the human soul. Read It!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, April 5 2000
By 
Marko (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
I read this book as a course requirement for the University. An amazing move... As soon as I started reading this book I got involved with it emotionally. The book is so well written, with such passion that my deepest emotions were touched by it. Right now its my favorite book, I'm simply breathtaken by its stunning content!
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Giovanni's Room (Penguin Modern Classics)
Giovanni's Room (Penguin Modern Classics) by James Baldwin (Paperback - Oct. 4 2001)
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