I devoured the writing of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison in my late teenage years and I remember really connecting with The Color Purple, though it re...moreI devoured the writing of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison in my late teenage years and I remember really connecting with The Color Purple, though it read quite similar to Their Eyes Were Watching God to me. We had to read “Eyes” at least twice in school as Hurston was from the Greater Orlando area and local authors had huge cache. Recently I saw a documentary on Walker that emphasized her role in "rediscovering" Zora Neale Hurston and her vital work and that commonality all makes sense. With both books, my idealist little heart was broken to not get what would have felt to my teenage heart like a truly happy ending (100% Freedom, Vindication, or Revenge) but perhaps with age comes wisdom. I can now see Celie's journey to peace and self-love as a true form of happiness.
On this reread, I got a lot of more of the subtleties and rather breathtaking depth Walker gives her characters and their journey. I think when I was younger, the violence and shocking elements really stuck with me more, but now with an older perspective, Celie’s relationship with Shug and even her late relationship with Mister had a lot more meaning to me and revealed a lot more about the changes within her. I love the form of the novel – as the letters allow for more episodic storytelling and give a great framework of the writer’s thoughts and feelings. I noticed a lot more skill in what was said (and what was not) than I had picked up on in my earlier readings. All in all – still an absolutely seminal work of both feminist and African-American writing and one that brings new thoughts and feelings out in me each time I read it. It is with sadness that this book always makes me think of a quote from Hurston’s “Their Eyes were Watching God” about the status of black women at the very bottom of the totem pole – the mule of the world.
“Honey, de white man is de ruler of everything as fur as Ah been able tuh find out. Maybe it’s some place way off in de ocean where de black man is in power, but we don’t know nothin’ but what we see. So de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don’t tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see.” - Their Eyes Were Watching God
I feel a little guilty adding this to my "Read" list as I only made it 3/4 of the way through. I'm not sure if I've read *this* book before or just re...moreI feel a little guilty adding this to my "Read" list as I only made it 3/4 of the way through. I'm not sure if I've read *this* book before or just read one that was really, really similar. It follows the story of Tzu Hsi, summoned to the Imperial City as a teenager to become a concubine to the Emperor, she ends up giving birth to a son and gradually rises to the throne.
I gave up reading before she took over the entire kingdom herself - but it was an interesting portrait of a woman forging her own path in a time of crippling social restrictions and customs for women. (less)
One of my all time favorites and almost every smart, driven, slightly quirky woman I know has a deep affection for Anne Shirley. This is a universal s...moreOne of my all time favorites and almost every smart, driven, slightly quirky woman I know has a deep affection for Anne Shirley. This is a universal story of being a little different from everyone else and finding your way in the world. A lovely re-read and coming back to this story feels like visiting beloved family members you haven't seen in too long. Oh, Gilbert. Like so many of my friends, I dreamed of finding my Gilbert and it's fun to revisit this story from an adult perspective.(less)