We can’t always travel to the places on our bucket list. But we can go there with books! I started the Fifty States Of Fiction challenge with the aim of reading one book from every state in the country. Each week in 2017 I’ll be here to talk about a different state, share with you some geographical fun facts, and explore how a novel, play, or personal narrative captures the essence of the area. Want to follow along? Check out this free printable calendar I’ve created just for you! Let’s get started!
Today’s State: Florida
Nickname: Sunshine State
Motto: “In God We Trust”
Flower: Orange blossom
Entered the union in: 1845
Now, pack your bags everybody. We’re about to explore Florida as Zora Neale Hurston portrays it in Their Eyes Were Watching God.
For Janie, growing up in West Florida meant afternoons spent beneath the blossoming pear tree in the backyard watching the fat, lazy bees pollinate the flowers. She enjoyed the golden dust of pollen and the warming glow of the midday sun. Until she became a woman. Married to Logan Killicks, she is forced to reside in a flavorless house in the middle of the woods. Married to Jody Starks, she finds herself in the pioneer town of Eatonville, locked inside the corner store while the men outside gossip on the storefront porch. It isn’t until she meets Tea Cake that Janie finally rediscovers the freeing fertility of springtime inside her. With Tea Cake, she moves to the luscious Everglades. She plants beans and farms the land. She enjoys the folksy pleasure of the community that gathers outside their house to hear Tea Cake’s music. She is happy once again. And then the hurricane hits. First Lake Okechobee rumbles ominously. Then the floodwaters arrive. As Janie and Tea Cake battle against death and disease brought on by the storm, Janie realizes that no matter where you go, the memories of the people you love stay with you forever.
Have you read any other books set in Florida? Have you traveled there yourself? Make sure to let me know what the Sunshine State means to you in the comments! Check back here next week to explore Georgia through literature.
And remember, if you want to keep up with our schedule as we travel the country, you can download my free printable calendar.
See you all next week!