Another Country by James Baldwin

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This novel explores all aspects of maturity, including homosexuality, marriage, death and friendship. Of course at first this book sounded somewhat uncomfortable to me and I really didn’t want to read it. But because over the course of the period I have became the biggest of the James Baldwin I eventually decided to read it at last.

Initially, Rufus Scott is definitely a character that me, or almost everyone can relate with. At one point during our lives, we wonder what really is the point of life or why should we exist on this earth? I get tired of constantly changing faces and hiding my real self as if happiness was only mask on my face, I only peel it off when I go into my room and throw it in the trashcan. Only with Rufus Scott, he goes to the extreme and directly suicides. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s got a family there to support him, or at least half of the family.

Moving on the marriage between Cass and Richard pretty much presents a typical style of American life. One person has an affair, and the marriage breaks. Both people are not excellent parents but they still love their kids in my opinion. This also reflects how parents in real life tend to neglect the real needs of their kids due to their own stress or jobs.

-Coreen C.

Another Country by James Baldwin is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

 

Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin

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This is another semi-autographical novel which makes it itself another classic and the first major work Baldwin has written. For one thing, I feel like a lot of children should be able to sympathize with John Grimes: we all wish and hanker to be our parents’ favorite child. We take care of our younger siblings because we want our parents to feel proud of us. But then a lot of times life treats us as unequally as how it treats John Grimes, his father abuses him because he wasn’t of his blood, but merely the child between his mother Elizabeth and another man he doesn’t know.

And then there is Gabriel’s sister Florence. In my opinion, she really hates her little brother again because of how unfairly their mother treated her. This religious woman, although strict toward her son, made Florence do everything and even denied her of her education. Sexism forced Florence to leave home and doubt religion altogether with the existence and faith in God because such a sinful man like Gabriel could become a preacher.

My two favorite characters: John and Florence both serve as the centers of the theme of injustice. They didn’t do anything wrong or egregious for their parents to hate them, but one because of her gender, the other of his blood denied them of any attention and love they could possibly get which really saddens me a lot according to the descriptions they were given in the book. Since this is semi-autobiographical I am surmising here that the author James Baldwin probably was not the favorite child either if not the least favorite child liked by his parents with eight siblings.

-Coreen C. 

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

The Hate U Give By Angie Thomas

Movie lovers and book fanatics reunite again as Angie Thomas’ best selling book hits the theater on October 19th. The Hate U Give portrays the trials of a black teenage girl living in the ghetto, and how her race is treated. The protagonist, Starr, lives a double life between commuting to a predominately white private school in a privileged area to living in Garden Heights, an economically deprived community rich in black culture. Thomas attempts and succeeds at educating her readers on the mistreatment towards African Americans, and how to rise against it.

For me, I thoroughly enjoyed the read due to how different each character is and how it can potentially relate to almost every one of the readers by the meaningful characters throughout the story and their reactions when Starr becomes an activist. Thomas wastes no time and  starts her book off with the reason Starr raises her voice and stands up. Her long time friend Khalil is shot and killed by a white officer. There was no immediate justice for Khalil, he was quickly becoming forgotten until Starr realizes how this won’t stop unless someone fights for it.

A struggle for Starr was the fact that her double life was beginning to merge into one. This led to drama with her friends, growing family issues, and struggles with her boyfriend. Thomas perfectly describes the average American teenager- except they don’t usually have to fight for justice.

With all the trials and tribulations Starr goes through, she is strong. I am excited for the movie and to watch peoples reactions to not-so-uncommon-things even in this day and age and i look forward to the acknowledgment black individuals deserve.

-Mikayla O.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive