Customer Reviews for

Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

29 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

My Review


This review is about a book called "Their Eyes Were Watching God," by Zora Neale Hurston. If you wanted to now the genre of this book is a Western Romance type. If you like stories about the past in slavery time you will love this book. This book cons...
My Review


This review is about a book called "Their Eyes Were Watching God," by Zora Neale Hurston. If you wanted to now the genre of this book is a Western Romance type. If you like stories about the past in slavery time you will love this book. This book consists of many people since the setting is in the town of Eatonville in Florida. Main characters of the book consist of Janie, Jody Starks, and a young man by the name of Tea Cake. Supporting characters in the story are Nanny Crawford, Johnny Taylor, Pheoby Watson and Dr. Simmons. In more depth Janie is a really complex character in this book. She is beautiful, very intelligent, and powerful. Throughout this whole story she tries to find who and what she really is and fights through all of the obstacles and finds out that she is a powerful black women that doesn't need a man to support her. Another main character in this book is young sweet talking Tea Cake who is Janie's longest lover. Tea Cake plays a huge roll in this story. He teaches Janie many things and plays a crucial role in her development. He is a strong well rounded character with only great morals. This guy is the best guy out of the other two, first husband Logan Killicks and Jody Starks her second husband. In this story the setting is really significant because it is based in Florida a little bit after slavery has been abolished. Because of this there are many African-Americans who are just like Janie and Tea Cake trying to find a home and where they fit in life. The major conflict for the most part is that Janie can not stay with a man for her entire life and trying to figure out ultimately who she is. During the course of this story she is with three different guys. She leaves two of them and something happens to the other that I won't exactly tell what. One thing that is very special about this book is the dialect between characters. Throughout the whole story the characters don't speak proper english, they still have a sense of not being educated when they speak, but it sort of gives the book a good aspect and makes it more realistic. In this book there is a lot of conversations and dialect it's the majority of the book. You don't tend to get inside to the thoughts of characters. The point of view in this book is first person told from Janie's views. I'm a high school baseball player type of guy and I really honestly could say that I was pretty interested in this book. Even though it wouldn't be a book I regularly read. It took me for a ride through the life of Janie from childhood growing up to her late forties. There were thrills and excitement to starting a new town of only colored folks to disappointment and tragedy at the end of the book. All in all it was a thumbs up. A great read!!!!!

posted by rb924life on March 29, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston's 'acclaimed' 1

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston's 'acclaimed' 1937 book is considered a 'staple' of the Harlem Renaissance. However,
Their Eyes, as we shall call it for short, it perhaps one of the most dreadful books written by mankind. Once reading, one asks himself,...
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston's 'acclaimed' 1937 book is considered a 'staple' of the Harlem Renaissance. However,
Their Eyes, as we shall call it for short, it perhaps one of the most dreadful books written by mankind. Once reading, one asks himself, why 
hasn't mankind just given up on writing books?  Their Eyes tells the story of a black chick, who's something like like a third white and has
white people hair, who marries three dudes (at different times, calm down) and does some crazy shizzle.  Her first husband doesn't fulfill
granny's promise, and makes her till a field with a donkey, so he can sit on his drinking sweet tea. Consequently, another black dude comes
to town, and after barely handing him a glass of sweet tea, she's off and married him (no divorce?) and heading to god only knows where.
So this dude, named Jodie, develops a town called Eatonville, FL (FL being both Florida's abbreviation, and being symbolic because it is
ForLosers).  Here comes the big shocker. He doesn't fulfill his promise and makes her work.  Here, ol' Zora makes the point that her hair
is in a hair tie (one will come quickly to know that these people must be hair worshipers, and a barbershop must be a shrine to them),
which is supposed to signify oppression, but its actually just tied up hair.  Anyways, in the middle of this, Zora goes on a trip of some kind
(rearrange the letters of DSL and you'll know) , and writes about another donkey walking around the town biting children. It dies, so the town
has a funeral for it, and a big group of talking cult vultures come and hop all over it until one tells that that it is food.  Skipping ahead, hubby
#2 ceases, and she runs off with some tramp named Tea Cake (making her a cougar now).  Apparently Tea Cake is a cute name, so I will
name my child hard tac so the think she's cute in the Army. Anyways, first night after being married (this time she doesn't need a divorce,
since #2 is dead, although she wouldn't have had one anyways {technically still married to #1 though}), he steals her 'hidden' $200 and
loses all but $15 bucks worth, and the next night, abandons her again, winning $315.  She loves him even more although he disappears
without explanation their first two nights.  Next, they move to the everglades to go 'work in the muck', although they are living in a house, I
dunno.  Tea Cake goes off wrestling in the mud with a chunkie girl named Lunkie (this is fo shizzle), and says she just took 'his tickets'.  This
is reminiscent of the movie 'Young Frankenstein' when the cute blonde chick asks the scientist if he wants to 'roll in the hay', as she literally
is in a wagon filled with hay, rolling in it.  So after much time, there is a hurricane. So now, Zora has another trip, and as everything floods,
for so reason, they must save themselves from drowning (not the weird part).  So, naturally, as any loving husband would do in a developed
town during a hurricane, he fights a rapid dog off a cow's back so they can save themselves.  He gets rabies, and goes insane.  He gets a
gun, tries to shoot Janie, she wips out a shotgun from her mysterious invisible cartoon pocket, and kills him. They try her for murder, the
white people give her an acquittal, and she throws a huge funeral.  Then, she goes back to Eatonville wearing overalls and a hair tie, again,
an unfortunate cowgirl outfit makes her seem oppressed. The people there gossip, she goes to her bedroom where she used to fool around
with #2, and thinks about #3, Tea Cake, and is finally happy.

Moral of the story? First: No guy will EVER like this book. Second: If you are a half black, half white girl in 1900's Florida, never wear a hairtie,
and remember, you only find true love when you are a cougar and your third-named-after-a-pastry-husband gets rabies from trying to float down
a river on a cow.

If this is your high school/college reading assignment, you have my pity, may the force be with you. 

posted by petersnoopy on March 28, 2013

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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Page 1 of 16
  • Posted March 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Their Eyes Were Watching God

    My Review


    This review is about a book called "Their Eyes Were Watching God," by Zora Neale Hurston. If you wanted to now the genre of this book is a Western Romance type. If you like stories about the past in slavery time you will love this book. This book consists of many people since the setting is in the town of Eatonville in Florida. Main characters of the book consist of Janie, Jody Starks, and a young man by the name of Tea Cake. Supporting characters in the story are Nanny Crawford, Johnny Taylor, Pheoby Watson and Dr. Simmons. In more depth Janie is a really complex character in this book. She is beautiful, very intelligent, and powerful. Throughout this whole story she tries to find who and what she really is and fights through all of the obstacles and finds out that she is a powerful black women that doesn't need a man to support her. Another main character in this book is young sweet talking Tea Cake who is Janie's longest lover. Tea Cake plays a huge roll in this story. He teaches Janie many things and plays a crucial role in her development. He is a strong well rounded character with only great morals. This guy is the best guy out of the other two, first husband Logan Killicks and Jody Starks her second husband. In this story the setting is really significant because it is based in Florida a little bit after slavery has been abolished. Because of this there are many African-Americans who are just like Janie and Tea Cake trying to find a home and where they fit in life. The major conflict for the most part is that Janie can not stay with a man for her entire life and trying to figure out ultimately who she is. During the course of this story she is with three different guys. She leaves two of them and something happens to the other that I won't exactly tell what. One thing that is very special about this book is the dialect between characters. Throughout the whole story the characters don't speak proper english, they still have a sense of not being educated when they speak, but it sort of gives the book a good aspect and makes it more realistic. In this book there is a lot of conversations and dialect it's the majority of the book. You don't tend to get inside to the thoughts of characters. The point of view in this book is first person told from Janie's views. I'm a high school baseball player type of guy and I really honestly could say that I was pretty interested in this book. Even though it wouldn't be a book I regularly read. It took me for a ride through the life of Janie from childhood growing up to her late forties. There were thrills and excitement to starting a new town of only colored folks to disappointment and tragedy at the end of the book. All in all it was a thumbs up. A great read!!!!!

    29 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston's 'acclaimed' 1

    Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston's 'acclaimed' 1937 book is considered a 'staple' of the Harlem Renaissance. However,
    Their Eyes, as we shall call it for short, it perhaps one of the most dreadful books written by mankind. Once reading, one asks himself, why 
    hasn't mankind just given up on writing books?  Their Eyes tells the story of a black chick, who's something like like a third white and has
    white people hair, who marries three dudes (at different times, calm down) and does some crazy shizzle.  Her first husband doesn't fulfill
    granny's promise, and makes her till a field with a donkey, so he can sit on his drinking sweet tea. Consequently, another black dude comes
    to town, and after barely handing him a glass of sweet tea, she's off and married him (no divorce?) and heading to god only knows where.
    So this dude, named Jodie, develops a town called Eatonville, FL (FL being both Florida's abbreviation, and being symbolic because it is
    ForLosers).  Here comes the big shocker. He doesn't fulfill his promise and makes her work.  Here, ol' Zora makes the point that her hair
    is in a hair tie (one will come quickly to know that these people must be hair worshipers, and a barbershop must be a shrine to them),
    which is supposed to signify oppression, but its actually just tied up hair.  Anyways, in the middle of this, Zora goes on a trip of some kind
    (rearrange the letters of DSL and you'll know) , and writes about another donkey walking around the town biting children. It dies, so the town
    has a funeral for it, and a big group of talking cult vultures come and hop all over it until one tells that that it is food.  Skipping ahead, hubby
    #2 ceases, and she runs off with some tramp named Tea Cake (making her a cougar now).  Apparently Tea Cake is a cute name, so I will
    name my child hard tac so the think she's cute in the Army. Anyways, first night after being married (this time she doesn't need a divorce,
    since #2 is dead, although she wouldn't have had one anyways {technically still married to #1 though}), he steals her 'hidden' $200 and
    loses all but $15 bucks worth, and the next night, abandons her again, winning $315.  She loves him even more although he disappears
    without explanation their first two nights.  Next, they move to the everglades to go 'work in the muck', although they are living in a house, I
    dunno.  Tea Cake goes off wrestling in the mud with a chunkie girl named Lunkie (this is fo shizzle), and says she just took 'his tickets'.  This
    is reminiscent of the movie 'Young Frankenstein' when the cute blonde chick asks the scientist if he wants to 'roll in the hay', as she literally
    is in a wagon filled with hay, rolling in it.  So after much time, there is a hurricane. So now, Zora has another trip, and as everything floods,
    for so reason, they must save themselves from drowning (not the weird part).  So, naturally, as any loving husband would do in a developed
    town during a hurricane, he fights a rapid dog off a cow's back so they can save themselves.  He gets rabies, and goes insane.  He gets a
    gun, tries to shoot Janie, she wips out a shotgun from her mysterious invisible cartoon pocket, and kills him. They try her for murder, the
    white people give her an acquittal, and she throws a huge funeral.  Then, she goes back to Eatonville wearing overalls and a hair tie, again,
    an unfortunate cowgirl outfit makes her seem oppressed. The people there gossip, she goes to her bedroom where she used to fool around
    with #2, and thinks about #3, Tea Cake, and is finally happy.

    Moral of the story? First: No guy will EVER like this book. Second: If you are a half black, half white girl in 1900's Florida, never wear a hairtie,
    and remember, you only find true love when you are a cougar and your third-named-after-a-pastry-husband gets rabies from trying to float down
    a river on a cow.

    If this is your high school/college reading assignment, you have my pity, may the force be with you. 

    11 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2009

    Ahead of its time, but rather boring

    While Their Eyes Were Watching God was a great accomplishment, written in a unique voice that was ahead of its time, I found it to be a disappointment. I could appreciate the dialect in which it was written, but the plot did not engage me and I never felt as though I cared for the characters. This is a "classic" that I could have done without.

    9 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 17, 2009

    THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD

    "Their Eyes Were Watching God" tells the story of a young black womans life. Throughout the book, she encounters many new and unpredictable obstacles that, in the end, she learns made her into a better person and more appreciative of her own life. Through three marriages, Janie learns how beautiful, though sometimes brutal, the world can be. She travels from place to place, seemingly always looking for something better, she wasn't going to settle for just anything. Janie wins the heart of any reader because of her determinaton and strong will.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 4, 2009

    "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is a fabulous book.

    I first read "Their Eyes Were Watching God" more than 45 years ago and thought it was a magnificent piece of writing. In August of 2008 I bought the book on CD, read by Ruby Dee, and I must tell you, I was overwhelmed. Ruby makes the characters in this book live. If there was such a thing as Oscars for individuals reading books on tape/CD etc., Ruby would win it, hands down. Her presentation breathes life into each and every character; their voices, male and female, through her interpretation, is absolutely outstanding. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to go on an adventure, because Zora Neale Hurston's main characters were living a life of adventure, of being nomads in America, of taking a chance on life, of walking out on faith. Amd Ruby Dee, through her vocalization, includes you in that adventure. Absolutely wonderful book and Rudy Dee's reading is like icing on the cake. Just amazing.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2008

    Their Eyes Were Watching God, a powerful and spectacular novel.

    Zora Neale Hurston¿s amazing novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is a spectacular story of Janie, a young biracial girl living in West Florida, trying to find her place in the world. Throughout the novel the reader is taken on a knowledgeable journey with Janie as she conquers multiple obstacles, while learning to find her voice within herself. Janie experiences numerous obstacles, being lost and then found, waiting for love, wanting love, and finally finding it. The main theme of the novel is Janie¿s quest to find herself amongst the natural hardships and obstacles of life, with others gossiping about her, to finding love, while wasting years of her life, and eventually learning how to be alone. Janie is raised in West Florida and throughout the novel she travels through many cities within Florida. Janie is forced to listen to what others tell her about love, and for many years she lives her life based on what others claim is the right way. Janie gets married twice before finally finding her soul mate, Tea Cake. Tea Cake helped Janie to break out of her sheltered lifestyle and become the intelligent, beautiful, independent woman that was always hiding away deep down. Along her journey to self-enlightenment, Janie gathers significant knowledge of life, of herself, and of love. Language and dialect are two key factors in this novel. As the story progresses, Janie becomes more outspoken and is able to express herself with assurance. The major turning point and the connection of the book¿s title comes from when Janie, Tea Cake, and others are faced with a horrible hurricane. This part of the novel shows a significant theme of humans against God. During the hurricane, there is a point where they are all helpless and no longer know what it is they should do, ¿They sat with others¿They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God¿(160 Hurston). The whole concept of the book is God¿s almighty power over all living things. Both good and bad. God helps guide the people in the novel, especially Janie, on a path to self-betterment, knowledge, self-worth, and where their place is in the world. God must also assert hardships and allows Janie to fight against others perceptions, battle within herself and her thoughts, and eventually learn from all her experiences in order to become strong and independent. In the end, Janie has grown and overcome an amazing amount of barriers. To many the ending of the novel may seem quite sad and melancholy, but it is actually the best part of the novel. Janie loses Tea Cake to a horrible disease, but in that we have seen that she is capable of being on her own and has finally found her place in the world. She learned of her strengths and is self-assured with her life. Janie has sacrificed all she needed to finally be able to understand the true meaning of life, God, and herself.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Simply Enjoyable Piece of Art

    The book was very good the broken country english was a bit rough at first but it gave the book its character. I like that Janie realized she had to live for herself and not others. It was an unique vision into what life is really like.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2010

    Eh, Okay.

    I had to read this for school. It's not something I would pick to read on my own. It was very slow in some parts, but there were a few stories that I liked and made me laugh. It's an okay book, the main character (Janie) made me soooo mad at times, and there where times where I wanted to punch Janie in the face.

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Do not buy. Very boring.

    Rent it from the library. It is about Janie and her search of love. The plot is very boring and dry. Janie ends up where she started but with a different viewpoint on life. Nothing special. The colloqiual speech makes it very annoying to read. The whole story is a flashback and a boring one at that. This story is about love but has no hint of romance. If you are really intrested, just watch the movie. I repeat do NOT buy.

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2007

    Great book!

    I had to choose a novel for my sophmore summer reading along with 'A Raisin In the Sun'. I choose this one thinking it would be horrible but I was very wrong! This is an AMAZING book. Some say it's hard to understand because of the language but it isn't that hard really. After the first chapter you get used to the lingo. I would recommed this book for anyone that wants a good story about love.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2007

    Now I see...

    Now I see why early writers hated this book and it needed to be 'rediscovered' by Alice Walker. The writing is painfully done (I needed to look up what a 'jook' was 'jukebox,' and you couldn't figure it out by context clues either.) and some of the scenes are absolutely cringe worthy. for example a 'romantic' scene where the main character's boyfriend, Tea Cake, scratches the dandruff out of her hair. Not recommended.

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2007

    absolutly horrible

    this book was terrible. it was all about gossip and a girl who couldnt make up her mind. i was unfortunatly required to read it for english and hated every bit of it.

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2012

    Yuck

    Thanks to all the plot spoilers i know this is a terrible book and wont waste my time or money on such an obvious racist book.

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    Can't understand the language!

    I had to read this book for summer reading for my English class. It was a horrible book. The language is not understandable at all. I really do not recommed it at all. It's a horrible book, and the audio did not help at all. It's extremely-slow moving. Barnes&Noble is great, but this audio was horrible. NOT RECOMMENDED

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2008

    A book of good intelectual use

    This book to me was one of the most difficult books to read. I had to re-read every chapter at least 3 times to understand what was being said. The dialect is almost impossible to understand because it's life in the South in past times. The whole story is touching, even though it took a long time to read. Life was different back then, and it makes you appreciate what you have as a person. If I were to reccommend this book to someone, I would recommend it to college-level readers, or readers who know how to read other dialect. High schoolers wouldn't read it because it's impossible. But you'll get through it after a few chapters, and it's worth the read.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    my parents made me read this. I contemplated suicide.... tried i

    my parents made me read this. I contemplated suicide.... tried it, but im still here because this took all the necessary brain cells out of my head required to kill one's self.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Boring

    This book is very boring and the title does not go with the story . You learn a little history but not much

    2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Interesting Book With an Interesting Storyline

    In the book Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston begins with the childhood of the main character Janie Crawford.Janie liked with her grandma on a white folks' land that her grandma worked for,Janie's mother had been raped and then ran off after she was born.As Janie grew up she started to realize that she was a colored person and not like the kids she lived with and played with and started to get teased,so her grandma bought her own piece of land to live on with Janie.She grew up and had her first kiss with a kid named Johnny Taylor,her grandma,seeing this kiss and being paranoid about Janie's future lifestyle,decided to marry her off to Logan Killicks who was a farmer.But that didn't go too well,Janie did not love him and he treated her well for the first year until he made her do work on the farm,ending in Janie running off to marry Jody Starks,who was a very successful and wealthy man however their marriage wasn't. Jody tried so hard to change who Janie was and her appearance,but Janie didn't like it, he made her feel old and ugly and worthless.At first she tolerated it but eventually she stood up for herself but soon after he died.Her last husband was Tea Cake whom she loved dearly and actually connected with him.He only betrayed her one time early in their marriage by taking her money and leaving for the night,but he came back and apologized.Unfortunately that marriage ended too,but not because Janie did not love Tea Cake or he didn't love her,they loved each other very much,but Tea Cake had got bitten by a dog that had rabies while trying to save Janie while they were escaping a big hurricane.Tea Cake went on a fit of madness and shot a pistol at Janie,thinking she had cheated on him with Mrs. Turner's brother whom Mrs. Turner had been trying to set Janie up with since she didn't approve of Tea Cake as Janie's husband,so the only choice Janie had was to shoot Tea Cake.She was put on trial but was found not guilty under the circumstances.After that Janie gave Tea Cake a great burial and went back to her home the local women gossiped about her saying that Tea Cake ran off with some younger woman and took all her money which was far from what happened,luckily she had Pheoby Watson,her best friend to stand up for her.Although the gossip continues,Janie doesn't care,saying that they do not know what true love is and she has fulfilled her dream and is content.I liked how the author showed specific differences in each marriage and they change in view that Janie had toward the end of her marriage to Jody.I also liked how she stayed true to the time period in the voice of the book and wrote in the way that the people in that time period would speak,however I found at times I would get a little bit lost and didn't understand.Another thing I found interesting were the different views of the people in the novel.There were great visuals in the way she wrote and was an overall great book to read,with many themes and topics.The main themes in the book were the way people viewed things,how they judged people,and jumped to conclusions.Janie's grandma was set on having Janie marry a wealthy man no matter how she felt about them because she was afraid that Janie would end up like her,poor and having to work all the time.Another example of this theme is when Janie came back to Eatonville and the women started gossiping and jumping to conclusions about why she was back and didn't bother to ask her about it.The second major theme was foll

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2008

    book better than the movie

    I really liked the book, but the movie fell flat. It wasn't a bad movie, but it was not as strong as the book. Therefore, I would recommend reading the book over watching the movie.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    The book was horrible because you couldn't understand it, and like someone said who wrote a review it was all about gossip. I'd bet that a person who spoke like how the dialogue is written wouldn't understand it ! Try reading this book for a school grade ! This was the most horrible book I've ever read !!

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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