Their Eyes Were Watching God



“Classic.” “The first feminist novel.” “One of the best books of the twentieth century.” These statements and so many more have been written about this book, and you could say they’re all accurate, depending on your perspective.

I say it’s a beautiful coming-of-age story that was written when a woman’s choices were limited in life, especially for an African American woman, or any other minority for that matter.

Yes, I did think Janie was being a little foolish and ungrateful for skipping town on her husband to go be with a man she had only known for a couple weeks.  I do not like that behavior, and won’t excuse it unless there’s no other option to run, such as abuse. The good news is we get to see Janie’s metamorphosis beyond her youthful decisions because this book ventures through all three of her marriages, and does a wonderful job of showing that above all, happiness lies within, and we deserve to have it as equals.

It’s so sweet it makes me want to start hugging everybody.

Not that it’s important. but it’s possible that I took off the half star for Janie running off with Jody because I’m not a feminist. Someone has to point out that it’s not right to leave your husband because you don’t want to be a farmer’s wife, and want romance and fur coats, blah blah. I say people get back what they put in, and that’s worked for me so far. It’s important to consider other people’s feelings before we make selfish decisions.

Okay, back to the review.

Zurston’s dialect is written in a way that can make it difficult to read in a nice, easy flow. Yes, hearing the words sounded out makes them feel authentic for the time period and culture, but in my humble opinion, perhaps some exceptions could have been made to make it a teensy bit easier to read.

Not to mention that Hurston does something in her book that befalls some writers. She chooses to tell her story from the perspective of Janie talking to her friend Pheoby, from childhood up through her third marriage. That’s all fine and dandy, until you get to the parts where we’re reading about other people’s conversations that Janie knows nothing about. This might seem like a small matter, but really it’s a glaring issue. Willing suspension of belief should be reserved for things like comic book movies or screwball comedies, not amateurish mistakes that could easily be remedied if the writer makes adjustments.

Overall, it’s a good book, and I can see why it’s become a classic.



I would never go out with a guy named Tea Cake, no matter how much his youth validates my insecurities. But that’s just me.


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