Apr 252018

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Narrated by Ruby Dee

Their Eyes Were Watching God, an American classic, is the luminous and haunting novel about Janie Crawford, a Southern Black woman in the 1930s, whose journey from a free-spirited girl to a woman of independence and substance has inspired writers and readers for close to 70 years.

This poetic, graceful love story, rooted in Black folk traditions and steeped in mythic realism, celebrates boldly and brilliantly African-American culture and heritage. And in a powerful, mesmerizing narrative, it pays quiet tribute to a Black woman who, though constricted by the times, still demanded to be heard.

Originally published in 1937 and long out of print, the book was reissued in 1975 and nearly three decades later Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered a seminal novel in American fiction.

This book was on my tbr list for a really long time. I finally decided to move it up because the Monthly Motif read for April is “Read Locally” and this book takes place in Eatonville, Florida which is not that far from where I live.

I didn’t know whether I’d like this book or not, but I loved it. The characters were so interesting that I was engrossed in the book right from the start. I loved Janie and her need to be who she was no matter what anyone thought. She was a strong woman who had a tough life. But then she met Tea Cake and things changed. He was a good man and he loved her. They had a good life together even with the few bumps along the way.

I was familiar with all the places in Florida that were talked about in the book. It takes place in Eatonville (the first all black incorporated town in the United States) and Lake Okeechobee. I’ve been to both and their surrounding towns.  It was interesting to learn some things that I didn’t know.

This book is full of heartbreak, laughter, thrills, and surprises. I am 100% glad I chose this book to read. It’s narrated by Ruby Dee who did a fantastic job. She brought the characters to life with a voice that was full of every emotion the characters had.

If you haven’t read this, or even if you have, I suggest the audio.  5 ★

Counts toward the following challenges:

Monthly Motif

 Posted by at 3:03 PM

  14 Responses to “Audiobook Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston”

  1. I’ve wanted to read that one for a while too. It sounds like the audio is the way to go.

  2. Vicki, this sounds very enticing, especially as an audio book. Wonderful review! 🙂

  3. We lived in Boca for a time and often went through Eatonville on our way to Ft. Myers. You churned up some good memories. Sounds like a good read.

  4. I loved this one, too, and should probably listen to it again as I am growing more familiar with the area. Ruby Dee’s narration was excellent… definitely added to my enjoyment.

  5. We read this for book club a few years ago. I’m always worried when we pick classics that I’ll find it too stuffy or something, but my goodness! This is one of my favorites of all of our books — in part because of how much early 20th century Florida came alive in the story.

    • I usually don’t read classics but since I know the area where the book takes place I wanted to try it. I’m so glad I did, I loved it!

  6. I haven’t heard about this book, but sounds good.

  7. It’s been way too long since I read that! I really should reread it.

    When the story in a book takes place in an area you know, it definitely makes it more enjoyable to read, though I imagine that Florida has changed immensely since the 1930s and 40s! When I travel I like to read books from the places I visit — some of the most fun with this idea was reading a couple of Margaret Atwood books while visiting the actual neighborhood in Toronto where the characters live and work.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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