Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston As I always do when applicable, I want to start this review with a disclaimer: I read this book as part of a college course, so it was not technically one of my own choosing (yes, I'm currently on winter break, and yes, I am reading ahead because I'm nerdy like that). That said, here is what I thought:

This book is really really good. I realize that you probably know that already, seeing as how it's a seminal African American text and considered a masterpiece of American literature, but still, it bears repeating. The story is touching with just the right amount of heartbreak, and I felt enough of a connection with Janie that I can say I liked her as a character (although if I'm being honest her helplessness got to me a bit, especially towards the beginning).

A friend of mine read this book and noted in her review that although it is considered a feminist text, Janie didn't feel like a "feminist" character. While I understand her thinking on this point, I need to respectfully disagree. Janie handles unimaginable situations with grace and poise. She has the strength of will to break free of a life she doesn't wish to lead (twice), and is able to commit an unthinkable act without shattering because it is required of her. She lives through a hurricane, both literal and emotional, and comes out the other side still standing. And that, to me, is the definition of a strong female.

If you haven't read this book yet, I recommend you remedy that situation immediately (and, honestly, if you're still a student, you'll probably be forced to read this at some point during your studies). While it's especially relevant if you're a woman or a minority, the themes are universal and real. Honestly, even if you don't fully connect with this book, it's one of those texts that simply deserves the time it takes for you to read it. I hope you'll find it as important and classic as I did.

Rating: 4 stars.