Customer Reviews for

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Average Rating 3.5
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

POWERFUL WORK OF A MASTER

This first masterwork by James Baldwin represents one of the most penetrating, eloquent, and original visions in American literature. The crisis of black spirituality in a land constantly negating black humanity is not a tale easily told, yet Baldwin did so with a rare...
This first masterwork by James Baldwin represents one of the most penetrating, eloquent, and original visions in American literature. The crisis of black spirituality in a land constantly negating black humanity is not a tale easily told, yet Baldwin did so with a rare degree of power, beauty, and courage. The reasons this novel is generally described as a classic are evident on every page.

posted by Anonymous on September 11, 2003

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Go Tell It On The Mountain, a disappointment in itself

Drawn-out, overly descriptive, and at times hard to follow. Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin tells the story of the deep spiritual struggle of a fourteen year old black boy growing up in a Harlem community in the 1930¿s. At times, the book sounds almost p...
Drawn-out, overly descriptive, and at times hard to follow. Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin tells the story of the deep spiritual struggle of a fourteen year old black boy growing up in a Harlem community in the 1930¿s. At times, the book sounds almost poetic until an abrupt, and occasionally disturbing, flash back jumps at you from out of nowhere. Eventually, the story turns into somewhat of a bad soap opera with adultery, gangs, attempted murder, child abuse, suicide, and rape. Baldwin has shown through this book his mastery of fitting someone¿s life story into a single sentence as he attempted to do several times, losing the reader mid sentence. Baldwin also went on for pages describing dust in a house and adulterous moments-a euphemism of course. I can certainly agree with New York Times'review, ¿ with vivid imagery and lavish attention to details.¿ But I never imagined it to be this bad. Where details lacked in some areas, they grew like weeds in others. Attention to details many people do not want to hear about proliferated, distracting from the supposed focus of the book, the spiritual struggles of a teenage boy. In five words or less: sick, twisted and way to long. So, if you are looking for a soap opera-like book which could have easily been 200 pages shorter go to your nearest bookstore and purchase Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin.

posted by Anonymous on December 16, 2001

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 47 Customer Reviews
Page 2 of 3
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2006

    Very Enjoyable

    Go Tell It On The Mountain has helped me to enjoy reading. I found the book difficult to put down because I was always curious as to what would happen next. This novel covers many different issues in society, including: race, religion, family issues, marriage, parenting, and sexual encounters out of wedlock. If you are interested in any of these issues, this is a great book to read. The whole story takes place in one single day, which is John¿s fourteenth birthday. In the first part of Go Tell It On The Mountain, John is dealing with not `fitting in¿. John does not want to go to church and practice his faith, nor does he want to be like the other children and be sociable or have sexual encounters. In the second part of the book, John¿s father, Gabriel, is regretting his past. Gabriel was previously married to Deborah, who he cheated on with Esther, a girl he worked with. Gabriel got Esther pregnant but wanted nothing to do with the situation so he stole money from Deborah to send Esther off. A few years later, the child that Gabriel never knew, died, as did Esther. In the second part of the book, Elizabeth, John¿s mother, is also having regrets about her past. Years earlier, Elizabeth met Richard, who worked at a nearby grocery store. Elizabeth and Richard moved to New York where they got jobs at a hotel to save money so they could get married. Elizabeth became pregnant by Richard but was waiting to tell him. In the meantime, Richard had gotten into some trouble with the police which had upset him. The same night, before Elizabeth could tell Richard she was pregnant, he committed suicide. Elizabeth blamed herself and thought if she had told Richard she was pregnant, he would not have committed suicide. In the third part of the book, John joins the Brotherhood. John asked Jesus to help him conform to the Brotherhood, and He did. John now feels that he is a part of something. He had laid his sins down and been forgiven. John can also now share something with Gabriel. I found Go tell It On The Mountain to be a good novel mainly because I could relate it to my own life in more ways than one. The organization of the book was simple to follow and did not have me turning back in the book to re-read things. Also, this novel is an African American Literary work, so it made me appreciate the African American culture more and their religious beliefs. The thing about Go Tell It On The Mountain that I disliked the most was the fact that James Baldwin put a stereotype out there for African American men. The interpretation from Baldwin that I got was that all African American men are disciplinary, mean, unfaithful breadwinners. This is very stereotypical to me as a reader. The other thing I disliked in the novel was that the very end of Go Tell It On The Mountain left me hanging. There could have been ten different endings to this novel, but I don¿t know what really happened. That was kind of annoying after reading such an enjoyable book. I think that James Baldwin chose to include so many issues in his book because he wanted his audience to see and feel what it was like to live in the early 1900¿s. Many of the issues that take place in Go Tell It On The Mountain are still issues in 2006. I also think that James Baldwin wanted his readers to see that with every choice a person makes, there are consequences. I think most of the issues covered in Go Tell It On The Mountain are things that would happen in real life. There were a few scenarios that I thought were far fetched though. One example was when Gabriel was stealing money from Deborah to send off Esther and the baby. Most wives would say something if they knew about it. In this case Deborah kept her mouth shut. Another example I find hard to be convincing is that even though Gabriel beat Elizabeth and the boys, she stayed with him. There are women out there who are in abusive relationships, but when your children fear their father like Roy and John did, I find

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2006

    It is a mind-stirring book

    James Baldwin¿s negative but strong critique of Uncle Tom¿s Cabin and other novels in the article, Everybody¿s Protest Novel exposes many potential points to hinder on African American literature. Likewise I envisioned through reading his appraisal that he precisely exhibits his points in his novel Go Tell It on the Mountain. Baldwin states that novels, primarily Uncle Tom¿s Cabin show the sadness of being black. That it is always the black person being inferior to the white man. Moreover, he states that those novels only showed that the black person¿s main aim in life was trying to get whiter. Baldwin argues that African Americans should accept their life as full human beings and work on improving it their way for their own benefit. He says that blacks should accept their life even with all the difficulty rather than reject it while dreaming of the white man¿s life. As a result when I go back to Baldwin¿s own novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, I see that the theme of that story reflects the struggle of an African American family to live a normal life independent of the white man. The story shows all the backfiring that transition of style of life has on that family: all the sadness, sins, bad habits, family complications, hypocrisy. The story reflects no positive status for that family even after it attempts to remove itself from all the negative influences the white man¿s world has had on them during the past centuries. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin is a decent book. It talks about an African-American family in the early 20th century that strived through many personal problems in the past and present. John Grimes, the main character is a 14 year old boy who struggles to meet the expectations of his father Reverend Gabriel Grimes. Gabriel was a man of religion, but he also was mean and abusive father. He wanted John to become a man faith and submit to God. However John disliked the matter, because it was always forced on him. He wanted to live life like every other boy and man out there. He wanted to go to the theatres, and wanted the pleasure of women, as well as much more. Plus, John was always being compared to Elisha, a young man of faith in his early twenties. John was expected to be of Elisha¿s stature. The story illustrates his constant struggles with his displeasing father, Gabriel. But to make the story even more thrilling, the author gave an exciting overview of Gabriel¿s life and some of the other member¿s lives. Gabriel was at first a corrupt young man who did whatever a man could do. Then after a certain amount time he gained his faith and decided to become a speaker in the name of God, according to what his dying mother aspired. As he became dedicated to his faith and his mother¿s death bed, his older sister, Florence fled the house to go north the country in search for what she considered a better life. Gabriel grew to become a very passionate and influential speaker of God¿s words. He then married his sister¿s old friend Deborah. She was older than Gabriel, without much beauty to offer. Nevertheless she was a woman of great faith. However Gabriel status as a man of faith did not stop him from the haunts of sin, where he fell into the hands of a faithless woman named Esther. After having intercourses with her for several consecutive days, he got her pregnant which caused much concern for him. He then paid her to go away to eventually die so that his reputation would be saved. His abandoned bastard son Royal eventually died too. Even after all that he had committed, he believed that God would forgive him, which made him in denial till the present day of the story. After Deborah passed away, Gabriel moved in with his sister, who he did not get along with too well to then meet Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a lost woman similar to Esther, who was in love with Richard who sooner or later committed suicide. She had a bastard child from him, who it turned out

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2006

    Go Tell It on the Mountain

    Everyone should take the time to read Go Tell It On The Mountain becuse,as I read this novel, I do think Baldwin brings out a lot of things that particularly illustrated the difficult times Afro-American faced in generations in the early 20th century. Baldwin, describes his character within John Grimes family with great detail. Within the novel each of the adults and children are reveal in several different ways and the choices each was forced to face in and racist society in turn how this would affected each of their relationship to each other. However, Baldwin get the opportunities to express truth about Afro-American men asnd women, also the children. In novel Go Tell It On The Mountain deals with a lot of social issues and historical insights that Baldwin was willing to bring to the forefront in his first novel. I hope other reader will get the full effect in what Afro-American had to endure down through the century and still are going through today in society. I feel Baldwin, novel Go Tell It On The Mountain gives great enlightenment as well as educator to social isses that deal with racist.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2006

    Go Tell It on the Mountain

    Everyone should take the time to read Go Tell It On The Mountain because, as I read this novel, I do think Baldwin brings out a lot of things that particularly illustrated the difficult times Afro-American faced in generations in the early 20th century. Baldwin, describes his characters within John Grimes Family with great detail. Within the novel each of the adults and chilren are reveal in several different ways and the choices each was forced to face in and racist society in turn how this would affected each of their relationship to each other. However, Baldwin get the opportunities to express truth about Afro-American men and women, also the children. In novel Go Tell It On The Mountain deal with lots of social issues and historical insights that Baldwin was willing to bring to the forefront in his novel. I hope other reader will get the full effect in what Afro-American had to endure sown throug the century and still are going through today in society. I feel Baldwin, novel Go Tell It On The Mountain gives great enlightenment as well as educator to social issues that deal with racist.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2006

    Shout It Out

    This summer I read a book, called 'Go Tell it On the Mountain.' The main characters in this book were John, Elizabeth, Florence, and Gabriel. These people are all family. Though this family was small, they each had a story to tell. At first, I thought this book was horrible because I didn't understand the plot of the story. It made it really hard and difficult to read. Second, I didn't understand the language. It had alot of powerful words, which I didn't understand. My opinion changed once I figured out how things were set up. I actually really enjoyed it. To me, what made this story really special was the message it gave. The message was that you need God no matter what circumstances you're in. I'm a believer in God and I believe that the message was true. I believe Gods everywhere whether you realize it or not. Maybe you have a different opinion, but thats mine. Each story they told was basically their spritual growing, how they came to know Christ. There was a time in each characters life in which they had a hard depressing time. They all fought for what they wanted. It got so rough that it opened their eyes to God. They turn their lives to him. Though this book was a challenge at first, I actually really enjoyed it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2006

    Go Tell it on the Mountain - A Story to Leave Behind

    ¿Go Tell It on the Mountain¿ is an example of extending a short story into a long one. The structure of this novel is hard to follow due to very specific describing of the scene and yet there isn¿t any action going on. Even though a catchy introduction was presented, it was still difficult to follow, also due to the fact that it throws the reader off almost every paragraph. The reason that throws the reader of is for the reason that the writer of the book moves from one subject to different subject. Leaving the reader guessing what happened on the last subject. Like I already mentioned previously this novel is over descriptive. The author¿s imagination helps the reader create a mind motion picture of the scene but then there isn¿t anything going on. Not only there isn¿t anything going on, but the author will immediately move on into a whole different subject. There isn¿t any action in the book also due to the fact that most of the story is inner thoughts of our characters. It just gives the readers an idea of what these characters had been through in their life. Struggles they had went through, but it doesn¿t show the reader how these characters grew up to be. How it has affected their judgment. There aren¿t any lessons that the reader can learn out of these characters. None of these characters could be considered as role models. This novel has nothing to do with African American history. None of the characters collide with any racial conflicts. It is basically a life story of a person named Gabriel. Gabriel that now was an adult grew up as a teenager that sinned almost on a daily basis and than one day he had a change of heart. He decided to join God and convert into a preacher. Even after being converted into a preacher he still did not change his old sinning ways. He lied, stole and committed violent acts toward other human beings. Better yet, on his family members. Here we have someone who claims to be the Son of God and he is the major hypocritical individual in the story. He stands in front of almost a whole community and tells them what not to do in the name of God and he goes and does it himself. He had an affair with another woman who gave birth to his child while he was still married to his original wife. Then to cover his outer appearance in the community¿s eyes, he sent his newborn son and the child¿s mother out of state. He had to steal money from his current wife to support his other family out of state. Later on, he found out that the woman he had an affair with had died and his son was left on his own. Yet he still manages not to do take care of his son and leave him without anyone to take care of him. His son did not have a mother at the time. After a while the son he failed to take care of had died due to lack of parenting support. Also following the death of his son his first wife Deborah died also. So he decided to go make things right with his sister that he had not seen or kept in touch with for a quiet while. While he was living at his sister¿s place, he is introduced to Elizabeth, which he ends up marrying and having a child with. His child Roy and Elizabeth¿s child John, due to the fact of how he treated their mother, do not like him. John would not mention anything to him because he was terrified of his father but the total opposite was with Roy. His negative thoughts towards his father were out in the open for everyone to identify. Besides Gabriel being a hypocrite there¿s his sister Florence. Florence could be described as an egocentric individual. The only person she cares about is herself. Even when her mother was in her deathbed Florence left her alone with Gabriel and moved to another state for better personal opportunities. Even the begging and the crying of her mother did not change her mind towards leaving. While she was gone she didn¿t bother keeping in touch with her brother anymore. Everywhere she went, she always thought of herself as better than anyone else. She never got marrie

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2006

    My Reflection

    I believe people who like to read black lecture would enjoy reading Go Tell it on the Mountain. In the novel black families were sterotyped of how all black families were structures. Every family has a mother and father and some kids, but in the novel the father worked and the mother stayed at home and took care of the kids and every Sunday they go to church. The sterotype is not ture about all black families. The novel even starts out by talking about how the family always went to church on Sundays. Also about how John's father was the head deacon of the church. Without knowing all the characters or even the pplot you knew the family was black and went to church. This is the sterotyping I'm talking about. All black people don't go to church. In reading this novel you would think the opposite, becasue it also talks about the hoe the whole church was never empty on a Sunday. The church was in Harlem in the 1930's which means the church was predominately black. Whites and blacks lived in the north together but not by each other which means that this was a black church. It also talks about how this church was the biggest church in Harlem, which which made think all the black people who lived in this neigborhood went to this church. John's father Gabriel was the only one that had a job in the family. Gabriel the father was sterotyped as being the breadwinner and taking care of the family. He had one more job at the chhurch but he don't get paid for it. This is a sterotypical way to look at black men. I think any man of any race care have a job and take of their family. I didn't like how the father was protrade in this story. He was also sterotyped by being the parent who was mean and the punisher that all the kids were scared of. In reading this novel it made me think about if this is still a sterotype for all men and not just black men because most kids are scared of their father's. Since the novle is about a black family I just took as Bladwin was just sterotyping black men in gernal. Throughout the novel, Gabriel character was sterotyped the most because he had different aspects of his life was looked at from one point of view. I thought Gabriel was what people thought a typicl black man was like. From reading this novel people might find that all these sterotypes are true about all men not just black men. I think this might have been what Bladwin was trying to get across with stereotyping Gabreil in so many different ways. Reading into the novel a little deeper I think that sterotyping Gabriel will make his male reader's no matter what color examine their charater and see if they see themselves in Gabriel. I think these sterotypes might be still going on among our minority men. Bladwin even sterotypes the mother in the novel who is Elizabeth. She does all the house work and takes care of Gabriel and the kids. The novel talks about how she would get up in the morning to cook Gabriel breasfast, make his lunch for work, and have dinner made when he got home from work. Knowing that Elizbeth was a stay at home mother I think Bladwin sterotyped her as what an average saty at home mom should do. Also with taking care of Gabriel she take care of John and her other three children. She was a good woman in my eyes but others might say she was doing what she was suppose to. Taking care of kids is a job and I think Gabriel should have had a part in household duties instead of not doing nothing but working outside the house. Elizabeth does get a little help from John since he is the oldest child of the family. Even though was nothing much Elizabeth could do outside the household she was doing just as much work as Gabreil was working in the factory. I think Bladwin just thought this was waht an average woman was doing in the 1930's. Women are now working and brining in money just like men now, so this sterotype might have died. Even though Elizabeth did all of these things it didn't seem as if she was appreciated from any of it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2005

    Wonderful Literature!

    I must admit that I did not like this book until the last parts. However, James Baldwin captures quite well the mortal struggle of any Christian in this book. He very accurately portrays the lives the characters have lived and the consequences of their actions. He lets you see from each character's viewpoint so you can understand their struggles. It's not black and white. It's not a simple choice. The characters genuinely want to do the right thing. They yearn to stay close to the Lord and follow Him alone. Yet they are still human. Baldwin shows humanity. He shows that Christians are not perfect, nor do they claim to be so. They try their best to deal with their sinful desires and they don't always overcome those temptations. Even their own family members see them as hypocrites while they truly are not. Their struggle is to overcome the 'ways of the world' and to prevail over their own selves. Very well written. Very well thought through. Marvelous literature. Wonderful message. I wish more people, especially today's generation of students, would read this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2004

    I really didn't like it

    I really didn't like this book because it did not caught me like I tought it would. I enjoy read it about the religion and the racism but it could have been just a little better in the way he put the book in order and the people who he was talk about. No, I would not read this book again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2004

    a great book to read

    i feel that this is a book that many people should read but it can be difficult if not read right. it may be things that you mis if you do not read it properly. in this book john learns and sees a lot through his father that at times makes him feel that his fahter is a big hypocrit because he does not practice what he preach. john also experiences a lot groing up in harlem in not a so waelthy family. his relationship with his fahther is not so great and he has mixed feeling towrads him. the book is very good and detailed. it keeps the reader interested and is well put together.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2003

    God Sent

    I THINK GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN WAS A PRETTY FORWARD COMING BOOK ABOUT THE STRUGGLES OF SPIRITUAL AND SEXUAL POSITION THAT MOST PEOPLE FACE TODAY. IT'S A BOOK THAT MANY PEOPLE CAN RELATE TO. IF YOU NEED SOMETHING TO READ TO HELP YOU MAKE A DECISION ABOUT THINGS IN YOUR LIFE AND HOW THE CHOICES YOU MAKE CONCERNING YOUR LIFE WITH GOD OR YOUR OWN OUTER BODY EXPERIENCES. YOU SHOULD READ GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2001

    Very Creative!

    James Baldwin¿s Go Tell it on the Mountain is a story with excessive insight into the life of a boy and his family struggling through each day in the dumps of Harlem. John battles through the book, mentally and physically, mostly with his father, Gabriel, who is a preacher at the local church and a semi-insane father. But also, John struggles to find sanity with himself, leaving you in his head much of the book. Some things you can expect from this novel are long, drawn out sentences, a slow pace, and excessive detail. Don¿t let this fool you into thinking the reading of this book is a walk in the park. The book takes some skill to read in-between the lines and fully comprehend the entire text. A very creative characteristic in this book that adds originality is the fact that you are thrown into the past of unexpected characters. Although this is interesting it can through you off your reading and slow you down. If this style, mixed with religious context throughout, sounds interesting to you, this may be your book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 47 Customer Reviews
Page 2 of 3