My high school English teacher gave our senior class the option of purchasing the books we read together. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston made an impact on me as a teenager, and I brought it home with me to keep. This is one of my all-time favorite books. It has been on my personal bookshelf for about fifteen years now. It introduced me to feminism in literature, and gave me an historical perspective into black America. As a teenager I loved Hurston’s prowess for delivering dialogue and prose in a style that modeled the way people sounded when they spoke. I was moved by the intimate glimpse this story gave into a character whose family had been affected by slavery in their recent past, and the impact this had on her relationship dynamics and view of self, along with racial prejudices of the day. I was also pushed to think deeply about how I expected spouses or partners should treat each other (and about the horrors of exploitation/assault her mother and grandmother had endured) as I considered the complex, often demeaning romantic relationships the main character had to navigate on her journey of life. It’s a sad book, and a deep and beautiful book that I’m very glad I’ve had the pleasure to read and keep. It’s an important part of my literary exposure, and my young education would not have been the same without it.
This classic, originally published in 1937, can be found just about anywhere books are sold.
Barnes and Noble has a NOOK edition for $0.99, as well as paperback and other formats: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/their-eyes-were-watching-god-zora-neale-hurston/1116756380?ean=9789389440157
Amazon has a 75th anniversary paperback edition, as well as Kindle and other formats: https://www.amazon.com/Their-Eyes-Were-Watching-God/dp/0061120065
You can also listen to the audio version on Audible, or find it on other listening platforms: https://www.audible.com/pd/Their-Eyes-Were-Watching-God-Audiobook/B002UZN75I