Giovanni’s Room deserves a standing ovation for tackling the highly sensitive subject of homosexuality in the early 1900s. The theme and the idea behind it is certainly laudable. But, this is where the positive ends.
James Baldwin’s writing is at best confused. Characters aren’t developed properly and this leads to absolutely chaos in their behaviour.
While you do feel sorry for the plight Giovanni and David are in, you certainly don’t feel any emotional connect with either of them. This has more to do with Baldwin’s writing, than the characters themselves.
As a whole, Giovanni’s Room is a half-hearted attempt at a story that could have been made heart-breakingly beautiful. Unfortunately, it falls dismally short.
But I’m willing to give Baldwin the praise he deserves for tackling such a sensitive topic at a time when it was illegal to even talk about it.
Pick up this book if you’re looking to expand your reading horizons, but don’t let your expectations run wild.