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The Heart of a Woman (Maya Angelou's Autobiography #4)

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  16,762 Ratings  ·  403 Reviews
This engaging book chronicles the changes in Maya Angelou's life as she entersthe hub of activity that is New York. There, at the Harlem Writers Guild, sherededicates herself to writing, and finds love at an unexpected moment.Reflecting on her many roles--from northern coordinator of Martin Luther King'shistory-making quest to mother of a rebellious teenage son--Angelou el ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 1st 1984 by Turtleback Books (first published April 1981)
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Eman
Sep 09, 2014 Eman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


The Heart of a Woman is Maya Angelou's forth autobiography. This book reveals more of Maya's hectic adventures, political opinions, struggle with racism, and misfortune in the romance department. You will be introduced to Maya, the activist, who works for Martin Luther King Jr. and gets to meet Malcolm X. I like that each chapter is exciting enough to keep me interested.

I'm not surprised that she was able to keep her writing fresh and crispy with just the right amount of tasteful humor. Her son,
...more
Chandra
Aug 06, 2012 Chandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is inspiring and reminds you that no matter what you are going through that it can be overcome. Maya Angelou's writing is honest, poetic and REAL. I find her style to be full of poetic imagery as is seen in this quote p. 52 "His features had the immutability of a Benin mask...his teeth like flags of truce. His skin the color of rich black dirt along the Arkansas river."

The following lucid and eloquent quotes remind one to persevere in the face of all things opposing:

"If I ended in def
...more
Yasemin
Oct 12, 2013 Yasemin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some killer quotes and life lessons in this book - highly recommended for that time you need some good advice from a wised-up woman who has managed to rise above all the odds in life and been kind enough to share it all with us.

Obviously great insight of the civil war times & being a woman, no, actually, being a woman of color under those circumstances. It makes you put things in perspective.

If I had a daughter I'd make sure she would be exposed to Angelou's work instead of some vampire/fant
...more
Ivana Books Are Magic
What kind of book is this? the BEST kind of book, one that is emotionally warm, intellectually stimulating and all that spiced with a touch of wisdom! The Heart of a Woman is a memoir by Maya Angelou, so far the only memoir of her that I have read and I understand she has written several of them. The events Maya describes in this book take place between 1957 and 1962 and in that sense this book is a continuation of her previous memoirs.

I didn’t mind the fact that this wasn’t the first one and I
...more
Mary-Ellen Lynn
In 'The Heart of a Woman' Maya Angelou leaves California with her son, Guy, to go to New York, where she enters the world of black artists and writers. She begins to share her writing and performs at the Apollo Theater in Harlem; but the momentum of the story lies in her part in the struggle of black Americans for freedom: she is appointed Martin Luther King's Northern Coordinator. She takes a leading role in Genet's The Blacks, with a notable cast (including Godfrey Cambridge, Roscoe Lee Brown, ...more
Karla Mae
Oct 11, 2013 Karla Mae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many punchlines!

The thing about reading memoirs is that it allows you to see through the author's narrative. Maya Angelou did a remarkable job in making her point understood through vivid encounters, heated conversations, musings, constant reflections, and cultural subtleties.

Maya is a poet, a writer, a singer, an artist, an activist, and most of all, a mother. As a black American woman in Harlem, she learned how to play the game. Braving the streets of New York and London, she speaks with r
...more
Tonya
Jul 05, 2011 Tonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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I. Merey
A slice from some years of Maya Angelou's life.

Angelou juggles raising a kid alone, working in showbiz, navigating relationships--serendipitously, she falls into black activist work through which she'll meet MLKjr, Malcolm X--she'll marry a South African activist and move with him and her son to Cairo--become an editor of a weekly newspaper there--

Angelou's life beats in strong clear waves---she was a singer, an artist, a writer, a poet, an actor, an organizer, an activist, a mother---

How soberi
...more
Laila
Mar 28, 2008 Laila rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't like this book, which surprised me since I remember really liking "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." Her life is interesting, no doubt, but I found the book to be trite, unnatural and self-indulgent. The dialogue and general intereactions between characters was not convincing, which I find disturbing considering that this is not a work of fiction.
Bythedeed
Read this riding my 'I know why the caged bird sings' high. What struck me as the most different - and the most disappointing - part of this book was that it read more as a chronology.

Really exciting things happening in her life and the world at this time, but didn't have the same story-telling charm as caged bird.

Like it none the less.
Julia
Mar 18, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mallory (The Local Muse)
This and more @ The Local Muse:
This is the forth book in Angelou's memoir series and takes place in 1960s. Angelou writes about her involvement in the American Civil Rights Movement as well as her time living in South Africa as the wife of a South American Civil Rights leader.

I love Maya Angelou; she's one of my heroes and all-time favorite poets. I am loving her memoirs; she was such an incredible woman. I haven't reviewed all of the memoirs I have read so far on the blog, but I have enjoyed e
...more
Vorbis
Jul 01, 2015 Vorbis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok! So where had we got in Maya Angelou's autobiography last time? She'd gone from dancing in a strip club to singing professionally around America. In this book she moves with her son Guy to New York and works for Martin Luther King Jr as a manager.

Then she gets married to an African freedom fighter who's over petitioning the UN, moves to Egypt, the dude can't manage his finances so she gets a job as an associate editor at a newspaper (with no journalistic experience in a country where women d
...more
Yvette Danielle
Aug 17, 2014 Yvette Danielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I waited entirely too long to read this book! It sat on my "to read" shelf for too long and I'm sad to say it was her passing that made me pick it up and start to read, wanting to feel close to her through her words. Now I regret having waited.. This book is so rich in the History she shares of her accounts of The Harlem Renaissance era, working with Dr. King and the Literary Writer's Guild she was part of. Not to mention the pearls of wisdom and cherished insights she shares as a woman and moth ...more
Lesley
Jan 19, 2011 Lesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth in the series of autobiographies by Maya Angelou, one time stripper, dancer, singer, actress and letterly American poet laureate. I have read the first three and look forward to reading the fifth and final episode. Angelou is frank about her mistakes and her successes and how she rose from being a child brought up in the American south during the days when black people and white people lived entirely separate lives. In this volume, she has started to find her feet as a writer ...more
Lynn Wilson
Sep 25, 2009 Lynn Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I literally started and kept reading. Angelou is one courageous, outrageous woman. And this portion of her autobiography covers the late 50's and early 60's, a tumultuous time in this country with a great deal of similarity to the unrest we're currently living through, though the presenting issues seem different. (I'm not so sure they are, and the characters and mindsets seem the same to me.) For anyone who's interested in a creative life lived at full throttle, and/or who has questions about wh ...more
Joanna
Absolutely gripping, fabulously written, heartbreakingly honest. This book grabbed me by the throat and held on. Angelou lived in interesting times and writes about both personal and societal turmoil. She makes her experiences accessible and does not flinch from the difficulties that she faced (and overcame). Cameo appearances by famous people felt like a cool scene in a movie rather than mere name dropping. Watch for James Earl Jones, James Baldwin, plus meetings with Martin Luther King, Jr., a ...more
Kate B
Jan 22, 2017 Kate B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book by the indomitable Miss Angelou, but it won't be my last. She was incredible, with writing to rival her personality. This memoir focuses primarily on the time of her life when she was in a relationship with a South African civil rights activist who tried to mold her into the perfect African (rather than African-American) wife. Her spirit, work ethic, & sense of justice are all on full display as she struggles to be the perfect wife while also remaining an activist, a m ...more
Ari Haltom
Aug 02, 2014 Ari Haltom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. I've always loved to read the memoirs of interesting people, and Maya Angelou was, in my opinion, one of the most interesting people in the history of America. She fought hard for what she believed in, she loved hard, and she should be an inspiration to us all. To top off all of the interesting events in her memoir, her writing style flows beautifully, making this very hard to put down.
Ms_prue
Feb 13, 2016 Ms_prue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the part where the producer said he wouldn't pay for the songs for the play because Maya and Ethel 'just sat down at the piano and made it up' I nearly screamed WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK COMPOSERS ACTUALLY DO?
Maya's writing is amazing - so good - lean and evocative. I don't actively go in for autobiographies but I will be looking out for her other books for sure.
Kelechi
Dec 06, 2012 Kelechi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this volume of Maya Angelou's autobiography. Her writing is truthful and beautiful. I felt that I could relate to her as she discovered more about herself through her life experiences. Her depiction of her romantic relationships with the men she encountered at that point in her life, spoke to me as a woman forging a life for herself that is autonomous.
Ulriika
Apr 07, 2015 Ulriika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
When I think her life can't get crazier, she marries a freedom fighter and moves to Egypt. Maya, you amaze me. <3

Love it, love her. Although I really love Vivian Baxter - she is iconic, somehow. Will try a method of WWVBD for the next few months (should be epic).
Celia
May 14, 2012 Celia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was not expecting an autobiography to be so engaging but that it was! I can't wait to read the other five books.
Sephora
Feb 24, 2017 Sephora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved book
Shanin Warren
Jun 10, 2017 Shanin Warren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and inspiring.
Claire
The fourth of her memoirs. This covers her life in New York, role in the civil rights movement, marriage to a South African freedom fighter, move to Egypt and finally to Ghana.

We meet Martin Luther King, Billie Holiday, Malcolm X, James Baldwin!

I always feel I learn a lot from her memoirs and that they have changed me in small ways. I've reserved the next already.
Janet
May 21, 2017 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this autobiography of Maya Angelou-each chapter was interesting and kept me turning the pages. There was even a few shocking humourous passages and the last chapter was exceptional.
Jennifer
Feb 18, 2017 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Great book. Love Maya Angelou!
Monica
Jul 08, 2017 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning of reading this book, I really loved, but then I was really bored. Though that doesn't mean that this isn't a great book. I learnt about the struggle of black people, and how they feared that at any moment some white person could stab them, and kill them. Maya Angelou is a very strong woman; she has been through lots of troubles and hard & new situations and circumstances; yet she always found a way to overcome whatever she faces. She didn't accept to be just a wife, she wan ...more
Emilie
Jul 20, 2017 Emilie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jag var lite orolig att boken skulle vara svår att läsa eftersom det är del tre och jag inte läst de tidigare delarna, men det gick fint. Mycket intressant och en bok som väcker mycket känslor. Det var en bra blandning av Maya Angelous bidrag under the civil rights movement (väldigt mycket) men också att kunna balansera detta privat och livet som svart kvinna. Jag är helt klart intresserad av att läsa resten av hennes böcker!
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Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, was an American poet, memoirist, actress and an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. In 2001 she was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal. Maya Angelou is known for her series of six autobiographies, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, (1969) which was ...more
More about Maya Angelou...

Other Books in the Series

Maya Angelou's Autobiography (7 books)
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Gather Together in My Name
  • Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas (Maya Angelou's Autobiography, #3)
  • All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes
  • A Song Flung Up To Heaven
  • Mom & Me & Mom

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