If Beale Street Could Talk – James Baldwin

4.3/5 Stars
Reviewed by: Annie
Genre: Fiction, Classics, Cultural
Published by: Vintage, October 10th, 2006 (Originally published in 1974)
Pages: 197

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My very first James Baldwin novel, and surely not my last. Having seen the trailer for the movie adaptation, I decided to pick up a copy before seeing it on screen.

Baldwin dives in the heart of the story right from the get go; a story of young love, hope, and racism in New York City in the 70’s. If Beale Street Could Talk follows the story of Fonny & Tish. Fonny, who is wrongfully arrested on the testimony of a racist cop, and Tish, his pregnant girlfriend who is trying to get him released.

Uncomfortably honest, surprisingly sexual and deeply romantic, If Beale Street Could Talk is a quick but impactful read. Not to be forgotten shortly after it is over.

“…love brought you here. If you trusted love this far, don’t panic now.” 

Despite being written in 1974, many themes in If Beale Street Could Talk are still relevant today, as demonstrated by the recent film adaptation.

Reviewed by: Annie

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