Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Audio and Movie Review)

Janie Crawford is a beautiful free-spirited Southern Black girl in the 1930’s.  With her parents long dead, Janie is raised be her grandmother.  At sixteen she is seen kissing the neighbor boy, Johnny Taylor.  Her grandmother, in fear that Janie will wind up being treated like a mule for some man, she arranges for her to be married to Logan Killicks, a man in his 60’s who is looking for a wife to help him take care of his farm.

Janie wants more from life so when opportunity comes literally knocking at her door she runs away with a man she just met and becomes Mrs. Joe Starks.  She soon finds out that to Joe she is a trophy wife and therefore must act as such.  Soon Janie feels trapped again.

And so the story goes on – when something happens to Joe, Janie again finds herself a free woman, but not with finances to back her up.  When a drifter who goes by the name of Tea Cake comes to town Janie finds herself attracted to this mysterious man.  The two eventually become man and wife and their life together really is what makes this book.

Here is yet another read I would probably not have picked up.  When I found it on the sale list at I thought this may be a good time to try this one and I am so glad I did.   If you have not experienced this book on audio then you are truly missing out.  The rich southern voice of narrator Ruby Dee was a treat to listen too.  Ruby mastered the voices from deep male, to the young voice of Janie.

The book impressed me.  It is a deep love story that I wasn’t anticipating, and maybe that made me appreciate it all the more.  Janie and Tea Cake make some of the modern-day literary couples look dull in comparison.  And all that is from the book…

just wait until you add the movie.

I had timed my finishing of the book with the arrival of the movie from Netflix.  I wasn’t sure what I thought I would find in this movie…but it wasn’t this.  Halli Berry is the perfect person to play Janie.  She is a beautiful woman, just as Janie was described and she was the image of the free-spirited girl that I had read about. 

If I thought the love story was touching in the book… on the screen, seeing the great love between Tea Cake and Janie was heart wrenching – and this from a person who does not read romance!  I was so touched by the their story again… even as fresh as it was in my mind from just hours before ending the book…

I highly recommend both.  Definitely do not miss out on this great novel and movie.

My 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map has been updated to include Their Eyes Were Watching God

I purchased the audio from

The movie was rented from Netflix

22 thoughts on “Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Audio and Movie Review)

    1. Oh Care you will LOVE LOVE the movie…. it made me feel a lot better about tea Cake and Jamie’s relationship. In the book I was never quite sure if he was 100% hers – there is a bot more fighting in the book – but the movie portrays such a strong love – it made the ending all the harder… and all the sweeter.

  1. i adored the book and now i must see the movie! i love, love, love Janie as a character and i can see how seeing Teacake’s relationship with her on screen can just be incredible.

    i’m so glad you enjoyed both.

  2. Due to the title, it’s not a book or movie I would think about picking up, but it sounds like a good read from your review. Is there a religious theme to it at all?

    1. Nikki-ann… not really. The title comes from a part in the book when things are getting really bad – but no, I would not say there is a religious theme to the book…. I hope you try it. 😀

  3. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it, but it’s a lot. And the audio version is REALLY good too. I recommend it to people who’ve struggled with the accents/slang in the written version. I haven’t seen the movie though – I was afraid it would ruin the book, but after your review I think I’ll give it a chance.

    Looking forward to seeing you next week!

    1. I loved the audio Heather – it was just fun to turn it on and here the deep southern tones. I think you will love the movie Heather, I thought it was a nice compliment to the book.

      I look forward to seeing you too! 😀

  4. I love this book, but I haven’t watched the movie yet; the sad part about that is that I actually own the movie, so I have no real excuse for not watching it…

  5. Wow, great book AND a great movie? Unheard of! 🙂 Thank you for the review. This is one of those books that I feel like I *should* read, but your review makes me *want* to read it even more…or listen, as the case may be.

  6. It’s been a little over four years since I read this. Time for a reread! I’ll definitely be trying out the audio version when it’s time to reread. The book is so spoken-word anyway – everyone in my book club had to read it out loud to understand it in the beginning – that i think it would make a perfect audiobook!

    1. I have not read the book Amanda but have heard that the words are pretty hard to get used to written in that way – listening to it – made me laugh at times – the narrator is amazing, handled all the emotions and voices so well…. I bet you would love it!

  7. I read this in college and really liked it. How fantastic to have the audio version with Ruby Dee–I bet that just makes it shine.

  8. Is there a way that i can download the audiable to this? because it’s hard for me to read with the gramer

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