Although I had read the book in print, the narration of this audiobook moved me to tears multiple times. I was stunned at how much of the story and emotion I had missed in the print book. Ruby Dee did a phenominal job as the narrator. I can't imagine this book read by anyone else.
I do not write many reviews but bought this book after every reviewer had given it 5 stars, and I felt i had to give a different opinion. I was not able to get through the book as it just seemed to go on forever about nothing. Janie did not seem to have many problems in life and in fact had it pretty easy. The reading was wonderfully done but I found the negro accent extremely irritating. I know it is set in a different era, but our ears aren't used to hearing that sort of speech any more.
One of the most overrated books I have ever listened to!
Narrator Ruby Dee made this book come to life in a variety of voices, emotions, and moods. This book is poetry with a complex main character. It's a definite "must read" for book clubs.
I think listening to this book really added to the atmosphere of the writing. The reader was SOOO good! I think it would be harder to understand if I had just tried to read it myself. It is written in black southern dialect. -- I can't believe this book was written in 1934. It was definitely way before it's time. I liked the characters and I liked the message of being who you want to be, not just what everyone else wants you to be. --There were funny parts, sad parts, and somewhat intense parts. This book is definitely a five star read!
This book is fantastic. The narrator is one of the best I have ever heard. I didn't want it to end.
If you fail to give this one a try you are only cheating yourself out a wonderful experience! A beautifully written story that is fabulously narrated! Definitely will be on my list of "all time favorites".
“No persons are more frequently wrong than those who will not admit they are wrong.” Rochefoucauld
This novel should be more highly revered as an American classic than it now is (check its classification here). Italo Calvino defined a "classic" as "a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, then, is an absolute classic.
Zora Neale Hurston's decision to achieve verisimilitude by using the lively vernacular of African-Americans in the early 1900s American South transformed this book from a great novel to the lofty status, attributed to very few in the Western Canon, of "transcendent."
Her piercing and prismatic prose entrances the reader like Etta James singing the blues to the rhythm and flow of Janie Crawford's journey from a young teen given by her grandmother as wife to an old man (after being caught kissing a boy) to her 17-year-old self being swept away by a fast-talking and dapper traveling salesman who turned out to be an abusive, chauvinistic husband, and then to a mid-to-late 30s widow finding love, passion and zeal for life in a man named "Teacake," more than a decade her junior.
Ms. Hurston then brews up and heaves upon the reader a hellish hurricane crossing south-central Florida and breeching the banks of Lake Okeechobee. The passage from which the book's name was derived is both profound and symbolic:
“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.”
Another reason for the transcendence of THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is its place as pioneering in speaking out for, and celebrating the voice of, African-American women, especially those in the South. She masterfully conveyed her message that these women were oppressed not only by whites but also by others (especially men and, maybe more significantly, by other women) in their own segregated communities, and that these women should not be defined by these oppressive labels. Perhaps most telling of all is the mainstream's rejection of the novel (after its publication in 1937) because it did not play its part in "racial uplift."
And so it is that Zora Neale Hurston's novel, even today, hasn't "finished saying what it has to say."
Ruby Dee's bluesy narration is flawless.
I had a hard time reading the printed text because I generally have a hard time reading anything written in dialect. I am even annoyed when I get misspelled text messages from relatives written in dialect because I have to reconstruct what they are supposed to say. After reading the text, I thought an audiobook version would be lovely but I have to disagree with most reviewers. This is a beautiful love story and although the main character is older in the novel she strikes me as in her 40s during the telling of the story. Hearing Ruby Dee's narration is sort of like having your grandmother tell you about her love story. Although she did a great job, it took me out of the story a bit and I would have enjoyed a younger voice.