If Beale Street Could Talk Took My Heart

I know work is getting heavier by the minute and that the semester coming to an end means time spent in the library will go up exponentially. However, if you happen to have a moment of peace, perhaps this charming, emotional novel can give you a break.

James Baldwin, a personal favorite, might just tear apart your heart like he did to mine in If Beale Street Could Talk. I promised myself I would read it before watching the movie, but time got away from me and it was not until last week that I was able to pick it up. Yet, once I picked it up, I never put it down and three hours later I was crying in the car turning the last page.

I won’t spoil anything; I promise. However, I will say that this book is as important now as it was in 1974. Its poignance is eerie, making it increasingly difficult to not place someone real into the book’s plot. Every emotion is laid bare in a way that will pull you towards each page. Baldwin is comical as well, somehow balancing extreme hardship, beautiful imagery, and hilarious family interactions on each page.

It won’t take much of your time, but it will take all of your thoughts. I found myself dreaming the story; that is how real Baldwin is able to make it. Moreover, its timelessness further reveals how important what he is saying is. Perhaps you are not a reader of literature and don’t find enjoyment in simply written word. Even so, Baldwin’s enduring novel deserves a read for its content. It will point its terrifying finger and open your eyes through its language and plot in a way I had never experienced before.


Not all of us are readers, but I promise you will not regret giving this spirited novel a try.