Just Sherring

#BlackLoveBooks Challenge Day 2: Favorite Couple



#BlackLoveBooks Challenge Day 2: Favorite Couple: your favorite couple in a book

How could you not love Janie & Tea Cake in Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God? They didn’t give a damn about people’s opinions about their “unconventional relationship.” Tea Cake was younger than Janie by more than a decade, he was her third husband, but he was the love of her life.

Janie was just sixteen when her grandmother arranged for her to marry first husband Logan citing financial stability as the reason. It was an empty and loveless marriage. She escaped and moved on to second husband Jody, who provided a life she never could have imagined. She was now first lady—both as the wife of the mayor and only storeowner of the tiny town they moved to. The novelty and what she thought was romance soon fizzled when Janie once again found herself not only in a loveless marriage, but also isolated from people because Jody forbids her to socialize with the common folk. With Tea Cake, she’s finally in love, loved in return and is in in a fulfilling marriage. It’s the kind of love that makes her feel shielded from the gossipy whispers, criticism and jealousy of the townspeople.

In the foreward of the old copy I’ve had for years, Mary Helen Washington writes: “because Their Eyes has been in print continuously since 1978, it has become available each year to thousands of new readers. It is taught in colleges all over the country, and its availability and popularity have generated two decades of the highest level of scholarship.” What she says is true: Their Eyes was assigned reading in high school, undergrad, and again in grad school for me. I have a general rule of not re-reading books. My TBR list is already out of control so why waste precious hours on an already-read book when I could be getting lost in a new one? But I didn’t mind re-reading Their Eyes so I could refresh my memory and be able to write another paper on the novel.

Each time I read it, I used a more critical eye and caught things and felt emotions I hadn’t before. I was a changed and more mature person.  I also couldn’t skip re-reading it for school because once I’m done with a book, I’m done with it and have a hard time recalling small details, at least definitely not details needed to write a school paper. Of course I remember the main events, but sometimes I even forget characters’ names. Sometimes I’m a mess at book club meetings.

It’s been years since I’ve read Their Eyes Were Watching God, or watched the 2005 Golden Globe nominated TV movie adaptation starring the beautiful Halle Berry and the fine Michael Ealy, but Janie and Tea Cake were the first and only couple that sprang to mind for today’s challenge prompt.

Disclaimer: Their Eyes Were Watching God is probably going to have several appearances during this challenge

This post is in correspondence with the Instagram #BlackLoveBooks Challenge by @booksandbrunchbookclub.

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