Change is the topic of the month at the BAM challenge blog. I had lots of ideas about what I was going to read. Change is part of our life at PRL and so I figured I would read something about coping with change or managing change - you know, the books good managers read to help them and their staff cope.
However, I finished Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston just the other day. And all I could think about after finishing the book was talk about change!
I had read this book about 25 years ago when I had just moved to Virginia. I found it to be powerful, moving and significant at that time. My library is about to do this book as our Big Read, so I decided to listen to it this time around. I had forgotten how powerful Hurston's writing is. She had an utterly amazing way with words.
Janey's life involved so much change. Janey thought she knew who she was, but other people had other ideas. Her grandmother, her husbands, her neighbors all thought they knew who Janey should be. It is not until the end of the book that the reader and Janey learn the truth about how a woman might be.
And then there is the change (and lack thereof) since Hurston wrote this book. It has been 71 years since Their Eyes was published. Hurston was given grief for not uplifting her race. What would happen if this book was published now?
African-Americans and women of all colors have made advances in our society. However, we still struggle with our place as it is assigned by this culture. You only have to look at our upcoming election to see that.
I had not expected much change by listening rather than reading. I was wrong. This was so much better for me as an audio book. The book is written in dialect which I can read, but I really did not hear until it was read to me. I am blown away. Janey's story is the story of one of the most wonderful women I have ever read about.
I read this book because it is our next Big Read adventure at PRL. I have changed my mind about doing TEWWG for The Big Read. This story is one that more people should encounter. I hope we can do that through this reading program.
Lastly there is the change in my life since I read this book 25 years ago. I am not a re-reader. There are so many books out there waiting for me. However, I have changed since I read this book for my book group. It was good to encounter Janey and Tea Cake once again. I see their lives in a whole new light since I am older.
Everyone should read this book.