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Their Eyes Were Watching God
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Archives 2016-2017 > Their Eyes Were Watching God / Zora Neale Hurston. 2.5 stars

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LibraryCin | 8342 comments 2.5 stars

This book follows African-American Janie as she goes through three husbands during the 1920s? 1930s? in Florida.

So, it seemed, to me, like it started off with a bunch of gossipy women. Shortly after, we went back in time to hear about Janie’s life and her three husbands. I wasn’t at all interested in the first husband and I remember nothing of what happened with him. The second husband was slightly more interesting, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out if she was married to “Joe” or “Jody”. It was only at the end of that section that I finally realized that they may have been the same guy. Her third husband, Tea Cake was more interesting, but I zoned out for parts of that section, as well.

I was ready to rate it 2 stars until the surprising ending. That, combined with the slightly more interesting Tea Cake brought up my rating to 2.5 stars. I do know that part of why I “missed” (that is, I wasn’t interested, so wasn’t really paying attention to what I read) much of the book was that the dialogue was written in a dialect that you really have to focus on to figure out. At least, it didn’t come easy to me, and I have a hard time slowing myself down to follow it better, so I missed much of the dialogue, but I know that wasn’t all, as there were other parts that I missed out on, as well.

I know so many people loved this, but sorry, not me.

Oh, and this isn’t this book alone, nor does it reflect this story, but once again, I HATE when publishers put an introduction, preface, foreword, etc of a classic where they pretty much reveal the entire plot!!! I started reading it, but when they started mentioning plot, I skipped the rest and read the book. I then went back and read the intro. Why, why, why do this? Why give it all away before one has even read the story!? Put these comments in an afterword…


Jgrace | 2817 comments I liked this one a little better than you did, but I wasn't a impressed as many people are. Historically I think the book and its author are very important, but I thought the writing was uneven.


message 3: by annapi (last edited Jan 27, 2017 07:29AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

annapi | 4986 comments My problem with the introductions were that there were so many, and they were all so long! But I managed to plow through them, and the spoilers weren't too bad, they did not affect my enjoyment of the book, and they did help with my understanding of the story and women's, particularly black women's, place in history at that time. I also had problems with the dialect, but once I got used to it the story kept me absorbed, especially with Teacake. I gave this 4 stars. LOL maybe I was biased because this book went on my TBR after I met Zora Neale Hurston's granddaughter, who was my children's acting class teacher, she was very nice. It took me years to finally get around to it; Jen's Chutes and Ladders game was what eventually forced me to read it, and I'm glad for that.


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5813 comments I HIGHLY recommend the audio version of this book ... performed by the incomparable Ruby Dee.

The first time I read this, I used the traditional text version. I found that if I read it aloud to myself for a few pages I got the rhythm of the dialect and could then read through more quickly, 'hearing' it in my head. But when I listened to Ruby Dee ... WOW.


message 5: by Denizen (last edited Jan 27, 2017 05:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Denizen (den13) | 1138 comments Jgrace wrote: "I liked this one a little better than you did, but I wasn't a impressed as many people are. Historically I think the book and its author are very important, but I thought the writing was uneven."

I agree totally. It was a three star book for me primarily because of its historical importance. I also listened to the Ruby Dee audio but it wasn't enough to charm me.


LibraryCin | 8342 comments I was thinking, as I was reading it, that it probably would have been better on audio, yes.

Anna, that is very cool that you met her granddaughter!


message 7: by Karin (last edited Jan 27, 2017 04:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karin | 7016 comments Yes, the writing was uneven, and I did not like the protagonist very much. I listened to the audiobook, though, which improved the experience for me.

I gave it 4 stars, though, because there were some compelling things about it. I think I must have rounded it up. I don't have my review on FB for some reason, although it might be on LibraryThing. However, I haven't been going to LT lately.


LibraryCin | 8342 comments >7 For as long as my review got, I forgot to mention that I didn't really like Janie, either.


Jgrace | 2817 comments LibraryCin wrote: ">7 For as long as my review got, I forgot to mention that I didn't really like Janie, either."

I liked Janie, but I didn't like Teacake. I could see that she was more than ready to feel young and have some fun, but I just didn't get the attraction.


Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments This makes me sad. I really enjoyed this book.


Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Denizen wrote: "Jgrace wrote: "I liked this one a little better than you did, but I wasn't a impressed as many people are. Historically I think the book and its author are very important, but I thought the writing..."

I listened to Ruby Dee's version as well. I was completed enchanted by it. This is one book that I don't know if I would have enjoyed as much had I read it.


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