I would recommend this book to anyone, particularly the audio book. Not only is this an amazing story beautifully written, but Ruby Dee takes the words and the story and breathes a life into them that I'm not sure I could have managed with my own imagination.
Ruby Dee can read the dialect of the characters in a natural and beautiful way that pulls the deepest meaning and emotion out of their words. The language is poetry to begin with but Ruby Dee adds beauty and emotion to the already powerful words.
This novel about a black woman in Florida in the 1930s who endures two bad marriages only to find the love of her life, and then to lose him, is beautifully written and a brilliant illumination of a time and place where race relations affected everything. Ruby Dee's performance of the characters is pitch perfect, from the snide commentary of gossipy women to the hilarious antics of men who know just how to stir each other up for an idle laugh on a summer evening. This is one of the best audiobooks I've ever heard.
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!
Ruby Dee brings this hard to read book to life. It was required reading for a class but very hard to get into. Thanks to Dee's narration, I find myself listening to the story because it is GOOD, not just because I must.
I love to read mysteries, histories, biographies, humor, and Jane Austen.
I read 'Their Eyes Were Watching God" many years ago. I enjoyed it, though I found the conversations written in dialect hard to understand. Thank goodness for this audiobook! Ruby Dee's reading is exquisite. Through her performance, I can hear the beauty, the rhythm, the music of the language. It's a wonderful story, wonderfully written and wonderfully performed. This is my favorite audiobook so far - and that is saying a lot. Strongly, strongly recommended.
I've been putting off reading this book for 2 reasons. First, it's on the Oprah book list. I'm not a huge fan of Oprah. She's the reason we have Dr Phil and I can't forgive her for that. Secondly, guilt. Plain and simple. We are a product of our histories. Many white people claim that they don't understand the anger black people have for us. They say, "I've never owned a slave. I'm not responsible for what happened to their ancestors." Perhaps not. But we are still guilty. We're guilty of turning a blind eye and of forgetting our collective history. And for this reason, I was afraid of the pain this book might cause me. A tightness in my chest, and a desire to do anything I can to make it right, knowing there is nothing that can be done.
But I had nothing to fear. This book blew me away. I can't even describe how beautiful and brilliant it is. I can't believe that people (men, of course) rejected this book during her lifetime. Since there is nothing I can say to convey how glorious this book is, let me quote some lines from the book:
"Janie stood where he left her for unmeasured time and thought. She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her.Then she went inside there to see what it was. It was her image of Jodie tumbled down and shattered. But looking at it, she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something she had grabbed up to drape her dreams over."
"She didn't read books, so she didn't know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop. Man, attempting to climb to painless heights from his dunghill."
"They didn't talk too much around the store either. Anybody that didn't know would have thought that things had blown over. It looked so quiet and peaceful around. But the stillness was the sleep of swords."
"Rumor, that wingless bird, had shadowed over the town."
"Then she starched and ironed her face, forming it into just what people wanted to see."
Wow. Just wow. These are the most beautiful words I have ever heard.
There is one thing about this book that disturbs me though. It is the way the men treat the women. In part, it is the time in which the book was written. But I can not write it off so easily. Ladies, don't we still sometimes let ourselves be treated in a less than honorable way? It can be so easy to give up our dreams for comfort and security. But isn't that the point? This is one woman's journey of shrugging off the dreams of everyone else and finding her own happiness.
Ruby Dee did a fabulous job as the voice of Janie Woods and so many others! As always, Zora Neale Hurston is an incredible author and storyteller!
Janie goes through quite a transformation in this novel and it's lovely to witness. The only thing that put me off about her was her disdain for her grandmother.
I loved Dee's interpretation of "Nanny" (Janie's grandmother). It brought about a personal connection for me.
Tea Cake certainly showed Janie what love could be and left her a changed woman.
Wonderful book for the time and I am proud to be sharing it with my 11th grade literature students!
The narrator captured me more than the story itself. I felt like I was listening to one of my grandmother's tales. The story was well written. The author did an amazing job capturing the way of life of the time. The individuality of the characters helped me follow the story and understand what life was really like for the people of that time. I felt the joy and the pain of the characters. I really needed to hear this story and it has me hungry for more. This story fed my soul.
I believe they audio and print version are equally good considering what type of reader you are.
Ruby Dee's narration is what makes the book so real for the listener. You can visualize each character by her voice changes and inflections. It was very easy to follow.
This was a great story about faith, love and coming of age.
I tried to read this book in my early 20s but having grown up in white-white Minnesota, I just couldn't get my head around the heavy dialect of the book and gave up. This time through I gave the audiobook a try and that really made a huge difference. I'm extremely impressed with how well this novel stands up after almost 75 years and I'm very glad I came back to it all these years later.