Represent: Their Eyes Were Watching God- Zora Neale Hurston

When I first began reading this book, It mentally exhausted me within 4 pages. However, once I got used to the language style, I found that it enriched the narrative a huge amount and allowed me to immerse myself into the novel. Hurston uses thick dialect for her writing to bring the story and the characters to life. Here is an example: “You know if you pass some people and don’t speak tuh suit ‘em dey got tuh go way back in yo’ life and see whut you ever done. They know mo’ ‘bout yuh than you do yo’self. An envious heart makes a treacherous ear. They done ‘heard’ ‘bout you just what they hope done happened.”

The main character Janie Crawford takes us on a journey through her life whilst relating the tale to her best friend Pheoby. She has just returned alone to the community of Eatonville after leaving with a man 20 years her junior called ‘Tea Cake’. Janie, her life choices and her current situation are very much the main subject of the local ‘porch gossip’. Fair skinned and straight haired she is somewhat put on a pedestal by the rest of the town, they see her as more White than Black. 

The story is set in central & southern Florida in the early 20th century when segregation and racial pecking order were the norm. Through Janie’s circumstances we get a good picture of what life would have been like, not only for African-American women but also for the community as a whole.

Most Read: Worst Fears Realised- Stuart Woods

I was super happy to finally get a book like this to read within my project. Crime, detective, murder mystery books are my normal territory not only for reading but also for films. I’m not going to bother going into the plot because lets face it, whilst these books have varied characters, different motives & assorted locations, they’re always very similar in the outcome.

My first thoughts about this being the most read book in Florida were surprise but the more I considered it, the more it made sense. I envisaged all the snow birds strolling to their local thrift store after having flown down from the icy north to stock up on books for the summer.