Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Book - 2006
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A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

"A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don't know how to live properly." --Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years--due largely to initial audiences' rejection of its strong black female protagonist--Hurston's classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006
Edition: First Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition
ISBN: 9780060838676
Branch Call Number: FIC HURSTON 2006
Characteristics: xviii, 219 pages, 16 pages ; 20 cm


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Teen Reviewed

Why I started reading: my teacher recommended it. Watch out for the plot twist! (more)

From Library Staff

While A RAISIN IN THE SUN follows an African American family confronting racial segregation and discrimination in a white world, Hurston’s novel foregrounds the self-discovery of its black female protagonist Janie as she learns about love, self-reliance and the bravery it takes to defy the expect... Read More »

"I just didn't have enough life experience to really appreciate it back then," says a reader.

From the critics

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Oct 21, 2020

I listened to the audio version of this book with Ruby Dee reading/performing and both the story and Ruby Dee's performance are wonderful! At first I was not sure I could listen to the 'black speak' but after several minutes I was immersed in the story and found myself relating to the thoughts and feelings of many of the characters. I highly recommend this audio book!

Oct 04, 2020

I live on the land of Janie's FL but Hurston describes FL that I have never seen and people I have never met. This novel is overwhelming w/ feeling and descriptive words and phrases. It is written in a southern dialect but I found that it was essential to the story and the time. Janie starts out as a young girl whose Grandmother remembered slavery. This is a young black girl's coming of age novel in the south in the 1930-40s. Hurston's writing enables one to live in Janie's skin and really understand and feel the situations she encounters, her growth and eloquence when she is able to live life on her own terms.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Sep 22, 2020

So glad I went back and read this classic. Such a unique look at power dynamics re: gender and race during that point in time...and such lovely language and use of vernacular. Also: Ruby Dee reads the audio and is spectacular!

JCLMaggieS Sep 15, 2020

*Fangirling about Zora Neale-Hurston*

Aug 22, 2020

219 pages

Aug 02, 2020

A.J. Fikry

Jun 12, 2020

Their Eyes Were Watching God is an amazing novel and a must-read! The author, Zora Hurston, does an amazing job of conveying the evolution of the main character Jane as she begins to understand what she truly desires in her life partner and herself. This novel is an amazing read, however, it does take a high level of comprehension skills. The narration is very colloquial and informal, and most of the characters use condensed versions of words, therefore readers must actually sound out some of the conversations. Thus, I rated this novel a 4 out of 5, and not a 5 out of 5, because of the very important lessons in this coming of age novel. However, I deducted one star because the plot is hard to follow at some points because of the language used.

Feb 23, 2020

Oh my goodness, I don't know where to begin. This author's writing is beautiful and descriptive. The raw reality made it difficult to read at times. The strength and honesty of the main character is inspiring. I read this novel for my Well Read Mom's book club or may never have picked it up. Definitely worth the read.

LPL_ShirleyB Sep 26, 2019

I'm gratefully savoring this classic! Poetic prose in Southern dialect from a colorful community of characters that I can visualize and feel.


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Apr 10, 2020

“She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.” (25)

Apr 10, 2020

“Because I hate the way his head is so long one way and so flat on the sides and that pound of fat back on his neck.”
“He never made his own head. You talk so silly.”
“I don’t care who made it, I don’t like the job.”

Apr 10, 2020

“Cause you told me I was going to love him, and, I don’t. Maybe if somebody was to tell me how, I could do it.” (23)

Dec 20, 2019

One of the best books ever

Dec 26, 2018

Two things everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves.

britprincess1ajax Dec 24, 2017

"Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it's different with every shore."


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Jun 12, 2020

jpedone21 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Apr 10, 2020

Lienhoatn thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

britprincess1ajax Dec 24, 2017

britprincess1ajax thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jun 21, 2014

ianwilliams_0 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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