I kid you not, this book made me cry within the first five pages. James Baldwin’s Giovanni's Room is beautiful and chaotic, depicting David, a hopeless and miserable man who tramps through Paris searching for a way to avoid love. The descriptions in this book are gorgeous; the author holding a rare ability to let the reader inside the character’s mind and emotions, thereby making the experience that much more heart-wrenching and meaningful. An unusual, perhaps more realistic, perspective of Paris comes to life in this book, and the reader gets to see a glimpse of the rough, unforgiving city through its worn and dreary inhabitants, people who look frighteningly similar to David’s shadowy nightmare of the person he might become.
The story follows David’s brief and tumultuous love with Giovanni, an Italian immigrant who allows love to consume him, becoming lost and desperate when it ultimately leaves. Giovanni is self-assured when it comes to his sexuality, admitting that he has the capability and want to love both women and men. David is unwilling to admit to himself that he has romantic feelings for Giovanni, so the two carry out their love affair with the one-sided agreement that it means nothing.
I unfortunately don’t have the ability to give this book a review that shows just how truly amazing and awe striking this book is, just how much it destroyed my heart and made me rethink all the little intricate workings of the relationships that I have with other people. No matter who you are, (mature readers would probably be best) do yourself a favor and pick up this book. It’ll change your life. (Introspective and moody wink).
-Keiko, (Dusen)Berry Blogger and member of the River Teen Advisory Board