Review – Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God  by Zora Neale Hurston

 From the book jacket –

Their Eyes Were Watching God, an American classic, is a luminous and haunting novel about Janie Crawford, a Southern black woman in the 1930s whose journey from a free-spirited girl to a woman of independence and substance has inspired writers and readers for close to seventy years.

This poetic, graceful love story, rooted in black folk traditions and steeped in mythic realism, celebrates, boldly and brilliantly, African-American culture and heritage.  And in a powerful, mesmerizing narrative, it pays quiet tribute to a black woman, who, though constricted by the times, still demanded to be heard.

My thoughts –

To be completely honest, I just do not see what all the fuss is about with this book.  I liked the character of Janie, and parts of the storyline intrigued me, but overall I found it to be a pretty simple story where not much happened until the very end, when a lot happened.  Janie was a really great character, you could really see her progression throughout the book, and she obviously grew up a lot and changed in positive ways, especially toward the end, but the rest of the characters were extremely bland.  Nobody stood out to me – in fact, the only other character’s name I can recall is Tea Cake, probably because he was the most significant besides Janie herself.  The ending was pretty well done … just when you thought you knew exactly how it was going to end, something different happened that made the ending really work for the book and for Janie’s story (even though it was definitely a sad ending, in my opinion it was perfect).  But the majority of the story just felt like it was plodding along, nothing special was really happening, and I was kind of bored actually.  I think the only reason I stuck with it is because of how short it is (like 215 pages) and I had committed to reading it for the Novella Challenge.  If not for that, I’m pretty sure I would have put it down after 50 pages and given up.

I’m glad I read Their Eyes Were Watching God, because it is one of those timeless classics that I always feel like I SHOULD read, but I still wouldn’t really recommend it.  I think it just didn’t click with me in any sort of significant way.

6 stars.

Also reviewed by: Becky at Becky’s Book Reviews and Kristen at Book Club Classics. (any others?) 

7 thoughts on “Review – Their Eyes Were Watching God”

  1. I am saddened that it did not click with you. This book is one of my absolute favorite books from the very real and compelling character of Janie. The other characters are of course paler in comparison, but they are all relevant in their own way.

    This story to me tells the real, not sugar coated story of a woman trying to make her way in a world that is against her. it is a testement to the strength and endurance of an African American woman faced with great odds.

    Also I think you should reread it at a later time. 🙂 Thanks for your review.

  2. I have this book as part of a Southern Reading Challenge in which I’m involved. Now I wonder if I made the right choice. Well, like you said, it’s short, so I shouldn’t feel too bad if I don’t like it too.

  3. I’ve tried to read this book twice and been unable to get very far. Maybe because nothing was happening yet. I still feel it’s worth giving another attempt; because so many people say good things about it! But I’m afraid I’ll have a similar reaction to yours, so now I’m not sure…

  4. I read this one a few years back and honestly can’t remember what it was about although I recognize the names that you mentioned. Some books are like that, you finish them and wonder, “what’s the big deal?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s