I watched the movie adaptation of Their Eyes were Watching God years ago but I only got to read the book recently. I loved the movie so much that I have watched it twice and so I was intrigued by the book.
Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a story about Janie. This was a young woman forced to live within societal rules that sapped away her happiness. She got married to a man that she didn’t love at a very young age. It was a miserable marriage that ended with her running away with another man. Although promising at first, her second marriage leaves feeling empty. Janie is then forced to make a decision that leaves everyone talking about her.
The townspeople watching and talking about Janie
I loved this book although I really struggled with the dialect. I have read other book with strong dialects such as The Help by Kathryn Stockett but the dialect used in this one was quite heavy. However, once I got used to it then it became a bit easier to understand though I had to ignore the words and try reading them in the usual dialect. That was the only struggle that I had with this book. Below is a quote from the book, it will give you an idea of the dialect that I am referring to.
“If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk. It’s so many people never seen de light at all.”
― Zora Neale Hurston,
Otherwise, Their Eyes Were Watching God is such a fascinating reading. I love strong female protagonist and so I enjoyed reading about Janie’s ambitions and determination to follow her heart even when the whole town was talking about her. I really liked the relationship that she had with Tea Cake. It was fabulous, dreamy, passionate, romantic, magical. oh I loved it. The idea of falling in love and leaving all life’s comforts in exchange for companionship and happiness sounds like the perfect fairy-tale.
Tea Cake and Janie as portrayed in the movie by Halle Berry and Michael Ealy
The book was tragic and did not have the usual happy endings that are common in romance novels. However, it was quite a beautiful story. I recommend Their Eyes were Watching God to all readers looking for a different kind of romance novel. It’s a great book for readers who also like strong female characters. However, be prepared to deal with the dialect. It is not a very easy read but it is worth it. Oh and you should definitely watch the movie too.
“It is so easy to be hopeful in the daytime when you can see the things you wish on. But it was night, it stayed night. Night was striding across nothingness with the whole round world in his hands . . . They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against cruel walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.”
― Zora Neale Hurston,
I leave you with a random GIF of the gorgeous Michael Ealy who plays Tea Cake in the movie adaptation of Their Eyes were Watching God