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Fearless like Janie!

{This Book Reflection Contains Spoilers}

A plant and a cup of tea next to book "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neal Hurston
A plant and a cup of tea next to book "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neal Hurston

Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Author: Zora Neale Hurston

Genre: fiction classics historical

What I'm Drinking: Mint Chocolate Tea

Summary: Their Eyes Were Watching God follows the life of a woman named Janie who went through 3 husbands, love, loss and personal growth. Some of the themes of this book included love (for self and with others), gender roles, racism, happiness, colorism, black communities, struggle and the list could go on and on!

Any ideas prior to reading the book: I was super excited to read Their Eyes Were Watching God first and foremost because I knew that it was a black classic. I’ve read another book by Zora Neale Hurston and I really enjoyed her southern dialect writing style. I was reading this book with members of the Book + Yoga Book Club and really looked forward to the discussion.

First thoughts after reading the book: My first thought after reading this book was that it was everything I thought it would be: filled with so many different themes, gems and memorable moments.

I love the fearlessness of the main character Janie. She is the definition of an unapologetic black woman who didn’t let the world define her, especially during the time the book took place in the early 20th century.

Janie’s first marriage was arranged by her Nanny (grandma) due to the notion that a woman NEEDS a man for security and survival. Logan, the first husband, wasn’t a bad guy, he just was not for Janie. They truly never got a chance to know each other and how can you love someone you don’t know?

Janie’s second husband, Joe, was a visionary and I honestly wouldn’t mind learning more about his story and how he became so forward thinking. Joe had so much drive and wanted more for black people. So much so that he was the driving force in the advancement of the up and coming black city Eatonville, FL. Joe really started feeling himself and his ugly side came out. I literally cringed the times that Joe told Janie that her place was in the kitchen, he made her cover up and he was abusive. I must admit that I didn’t feel that bad for Joe on his deathbed, but I loved how Janie was able to use this marriage to make her stronger.

Tea Cake, Janie’s third husband was hands down my favorite! I loved how they worked together to make ends meet, they went on adventures, laughed and literally got through the storm. I loved how happy they were together and I wish that Tea Cake didn’t have to die. It’s even worse that he had to die at the hand of Janie because he got Mad Dog trying to protect her. I wanted for Janie to have a happily ever after, but maybe she did because she was able to experience something that people go their whole lives never feeling which is true love.

One thing that I took away from Their Eyes Were Watching God was the idea of loving life to its fullest! Never let age, economic struggles or others' opinion of you stop you from enjoying your life. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in getting a glimpse of the varying lives of black people in the early 20th century. This book is once for those who are interested in reading about a bittersweet journey to love and self identity.

- Maya & The Spine Down



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