Their eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

  • Started on: 2014-01-24
  • Finished on: 2014-01-26
  • Read in: English
  • Rating: “****-”
  • Genre(s): General Fiction

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I used to work for our National Library. Of course I wasn’t the only book-lover there, so they had (still have, I’m sure) a “white bookcase” which operated on the “take-a-book/leave-a-book” principle. It was a great way for me to find books I’d never even look for in the shops. I kept the list of ‘1001 books you must have read before you die’ books ready to curate my curiosity a bit, but I found some great books there. One of those books is ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston’. In this book Janie Crawford, an African-American woman living in Southern USA in the early twentieth century, tells of her life to one of her friends Pheoby, in one long flashback. She lived with her grandmother, an ex-slave, in the backyard of the white family her grandmother worked for. Her grandmother saves to buy her own plot of land and house, so Janie won’t be teased at school. From there Janie marries Logan Killicks, but learns the hard way that just being married isn’t enough to be loved. In the rest of her life she meets interesting men, and even finds love, unfortunately she also finds tragedy. The book reads like a story told, which makes it a really nice book to read in one long sitting. It takes some getting used to the phonetic spelling of a Southern accent, but together with the wonderful prose between the spoken words it serves to set the scenes. Not being a student of US history I have no opinion about the accuracy of the description (they feel real though) or the influence this book has had since. I just know I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it to anyone enjoying a good story with love and tragedy. Four out of five stars.