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2018 Group Reads > April '18 Read - Jonah's Gourd Vine

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Anastasia Kinderman | 942 comments Hello everyone,

Since we had a tie in the poll I have selected Hurston's Jonah's Gourd Vine for our next read. The group has previously read Their Eyes Were Watching God so it will be interesting to compare the two!

In order to give everyone time to get the book we will start reading April 1st. I do apologize for not looking into this earlier and getting the ball rolling right after our last read ended.

Who will be reading along?


message 2: by Maya (last edited Mar 23, 2018 06:18AM) (new)

Maya B | 795 comments I always get excited to read Zora. I have a busy schedule in April, but I will try to get this one in close to the end of the month.


message 3: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2446 comments Mod
I’m always willing and ready to read Zora!!!


message 4: by Maria (new)

Maria Cole (mccole0221) | 14 comments I’m reading. I’m excited to get into it today!


message 5: by Maria (new)

Maria Cole (mccole0221) | 14 comments Just finished it 😀


Anastasia Kinderman | 942 comments Maria wrote: "Just finished it 😀"

Fast reader! I'm assuming you liked it?


Anastasia Kinderman | 942 comments So it looks like the book has 26 chapters so how about we try and read the first 13 by april 15th?


message 8: by Maria (new)

Maria Cole (mccole0221) | 14 comments Maria wrote: "Just finished it 😀"

It was a tough read for me because the vernacular is so different than what I usually read but the content was compelling. How the characters behaved as parents and their social ideologies was striking.


message 9: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2446 comments Mod
Sounds like a good plan Anastasia!


message 10: by Carmaleeta (new)

Carmaleeta Newchurch | 70 comments I will be joining in the conversation. I don't know how I missed the March reading or were there a book for March. And for some reason I didn't get the poll for April. Anyway, looking forward to a good discussion.


Anastasia Kinderman | 942 comments Carmaleeta wrote: "I will be joining in the conversation. I don't know how I missed the March reading or were there a book for March. And for some reason I didn't get the poll for April. Anyway, looking forward to a ..."

We ended up not having a read for March.


message 12: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2446 comments Mod
It's taking me a while to get into this...the vernacular is killing me. lol


message 13: by PS (new)

PS I read Their Eyes Were Killing God earlier this year and loved it. I will definitely read this but it will be towards the end of the month – just ordered my copy and it won’t be here until end of next week. Looking forward forward to the discussion.


message 14: by Maya (new)

Maya B | 795 comments Lulu wrote: "It's taking me a while to get into this...the vernacular is killing me. lol"


I am feeling the same way Lulu. Lol


Anastasia Kinderman | 942 comments Did either of you read Their Eyes Were Watching God? I recall some people having problems with that vernacular as well.


message 16: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2446 comments Mod
I’ve read it a few times. Its one of those books that I have to sit down with no distractions to read. Love every moment of it though lol


Anastasia Kinderman | 942 comments So this is actually the second book this year we've read that has to do with "developing manhood". What are your thoughts on Jonah's process? What about the girls?


message 18: by Maria (new)

Maria Cole (mccole0221) | 14 comments Lulu wrote: "I’ve read it a few times. Its one of those books that I have to sit down with no distractions to read. Love every moment of it though lol"

I tried to be forgiving of Jonah due to the era and his lack of good role models however I felt rather unforgiving of how he treated Lucy towards the end. I was also disappointed in his decision to fall from grace again after his grand redemption. I appreciated his work ethic and intentionality to at least look the part but I was rather discouraged by his choices. I don’t think that he had to put his family through that to “find himself”.


Anastasia Kinderman | 942 comments I'm kind of curious, what do you all think about how some of the women basically throw themselves at Jonah? Why do you think that is? I was trying to imagine myself in their shoes and I'm not sure I would do the same thing but I want to hear what others think.


message 20: by Christina (new)

Christina (missfabularian) | 6 comments .....I need to jump on this...


message 21: by Maria (new)

Maria Cole (mccole0221) | 14 comments Anastasia wrote: "I'm kind of curious, what do you all think about how some of the women basically throw themselves at Jonah? Why do you think that is? I was trying to imagine myself in their shoes and I'm not sure ..."
I think that it’s just his complexion that make people go nuts. Remember the mugshot of the light skin guy with pretty eyes that went viral a year or so ago? He got out and married a White millionaire, they’re expecting a kid. There’s something very enticing to Blackness that’s not too Black, it’s more palatable and more consumable, more closely related to White culture.


Anastasia Kinderman | 942 comments Maria wrote: "Anastasia wrote: "I'm kind of curious, what do you all think about how some of the women basically throw themselves at Jonah? Why do you think that is? I was trying to imagine myself in their shoes..."

Almost like it's "safe"? Do you think it's a fetishizing?

This is the second book we've read by this author where a prominent male character seems to be fatally flawed. Why do you all think Hurston chose to portray her male characters this way?


message 23: by Maria (new)

Maria Cole (mccole0221) | 14 comments Maria wrote: "Anastasia wrote: "I'm kind of curious, what do you all think about how some of the women basically throw themselves at Jonah? Why do you think that is? I was trying to imagine myself in their shoes..."

For sure. I think it's a fetish.

Hurston was ahead of her time. I think she was alluding to this toxic masculinity that is corrosive. Not only does he injure women in his path he self-inflicts pain that he can not escape.


message 24: by Carmaleeta (new)

Carmaleeta Newchurch | 70 comments Well, I finally finished. The beginning of the book made me shudder because of how the white man tried to keep the blacks down and treat them as slaves. I feel honored that my ancestors did not allow the white man to keep them down; a weaker race might have stayed in slavery.

I understood Lucy's mother reasoning for wanting her daughter to wait until she turned 16 before she married. So young! Lucy would have definitely been better off if she would have followed her mother's advice. But love is love. And John needed this strong, willed woman in his life because any other woman would have killed him.

Lucy was definitely the woman behind the man. I applaud John for his hard working ethics to get ahead in life. But his one major flaw was women. I think he loved being admired and at the beginning his rationale was 'as no one gets hurt, what's the harm'. The things these women had to put up with - because John wasn't the only man out there doing his thing. I hated the women who put themselves out there for these men. They acted as if they were desperate. Especially, Haittie who went to see a Hoodoo specialist. Give me a break! Was she so homely she had to do beg to get a man?

Some of these women, I believe felt this was a way to move up in a white man's world by having money and a popular, good looking man who had light skin. But then it had to be done secretly.

At the end, John tried hard to be the right kind of husband. God sent him Sally and gave him another Church and work as a carpenter. But he messed up again with that teenager, and God had enough and let him get killed.

I enjoyed this book so very much!


message 25: by Elissa (new)

Elissa Matthews | 32 comments "Anastasia wrote: "I'm kind of curious, what do you all think about how some of the women basically throw themselves at Jonah? Why do you think that is? I was trying to imagine myself in their shoes..."

I'm not a psychologist, but I've always thought there was something about "bad boys" that equals "fierce" or "dangerous", that is, "good warrior". I think there's got to be a biological urge to align yourself and your DNA with rather against the good warriors...


message 26: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2446 comments Mod
WOW!!! I really enjoyed this. It started off kinda rough for me because of the vernacular, but the story was amazing! I think I enjoyed it even more after reading about Jonah's Gourd Vine in the Bible.

John was a lost cause when it came to women, it was his one temptation that he could never overcome. I don't know how this came about.....it wasn't an issue with anyone else in his family history....unless it came from his father....who I kinda believe was Alf Pearson.


While John was courting Lucy, was he sleeping around? It seems like he didn't start sleeping around until after he got married. Why didn't we hear about the kids anymore after Lucy died; what happened to them?


Anastasia Kinderman | 942 comments Lulu wrote: "WOW!!! I really enjoyed this. It started off kinda rough for me because of the vernacular, but the story was amazing! I think I enjoyed it even more after reading about Jonah's Gourd Vine in the Bi..."

It looked to me like he slept around before and after the marriage but for a bit he didn't.

I assume they got away from their father's new wife as quickly as possible. I thought there was something about one of the kids being found in the streets and the church first trying to kick Jonah out.


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