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Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas (Maya Angelou's Autobiography #3)

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  3,575 ratings  ·  113 reviews
In this third self-contained volume of her autobiography, which began with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou moves into the adult world. Maya struggles to support herself and her son through a series of odd jobs and weathers a failed marriage to a white man before landing a gig singing in one of the most popular nightclubs on the San Francisco coast. From there...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 21st 2009 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 1976)
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Donna
As described in her third autobiography, Angelou married Greek sailor Tosh Angelos in 1952; the marriage ended in divorce after three years. Up to that point, she called herself "Marguerite Johnson", or "Rita", but changed her professional name to "Maya Angelou" when her managers at San Francisco nightclub The Purple Onion strongly suggested that she adopt a "more theatrical" name that captured the feel of her Calypso dance performances.
In the late 1950s, she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, whe...more
Urenna Sander
Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas,” is a fascinating account of Ms. Maya Angelou’s autobiography. And it is only the third volume of five!
In the 1950s, unmarried, in her twenties, and the mother of a young son, she meets her first husband, a Greek American, while working as a salesclerk in a record store, in California. But unfortunately, because of her husband’s controlling behavior and atheism, their marriage ends after a year.
If she was disappointed by the breakup, she do...more
Riya
Whew! I am done!

I feel like it took me forever to finish reading this book, and folks, this is not a good sign.

I do feel conflicted. I feel like I should give this a 2.5 because there were so many parts in this book that were dull and uninteresting and if I wouldn't have skimmed through those pages I would've never finished reading this book. But then this is the writing of world famous and much admired Maya Angelou, so I feel compelled to round the rating up to a 3.

While Ms. Angelou's first tw...more
Joyce
This woman blows me away with her honesty, sharing her struggle to grow into the magnificent woman and writer she is today.


I was shocked and surprised at many of her stories and humbled.


Her first 3 autobiographies gave me a view I didn't understand before of what it was and is like to be black in America. These books should be assigned reading in school.

With each famous person I read about, again and again, I am reminded that the person they became was not how they started out nor is it the wh...more
Patti
I first read this book in my early 20s, the same age as Maya is as she shares her life as a dancer, singer, actress, mother. I remember her words opening a world of possibilities for me--letting me dream larger than I had allowed myself before. Rereading it 30 years later I recognize her youthful voice. Of course, I was reminded me what an amazing, talented, brilliant, beautiful soul that was Maya Angelou. I also appreciate the wisdom and grace that comes with age--which she continues to share i...more
Laila
Oh man, did you know Maya Angelou was a showgirl? Or that she toured with a production of Porgy and Bess throughout Europe and Egypt? Or that her son was named Clyde, but he decided to rename himself Guy and everyone in the family just went along with it? These are the cool things I learned from this memoir of her early twenties. And, of course, she is just a beautiful writer. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Carrie
I enjoyed this book so much better than Gather Together In My Name, but I kinda felt like it started dragging in the middle. No wonder Maya Angelou could write a six part autobiography though, she's lived an amazing life! I love the honest, witty way that she writes, without any embarrassment or explanation. She's been through a lot of bad stuff, but instead of whining about it and justifying everything, she's just like "here's what happened, and if you don't like it, too bad" I really like that...more
Thomas DeWolf
In a recent conversation about the writing of Maya Angelou, another writer friend of mine thought you could open an Angelou book to any page and find a brilliant quote on each one. I share her opinion. Since Ms. Angelou's death in late May, I've revisited her writing. I've now completed her first three autobiographies. I find her life's adventures so inspiring; particularly for anyone who has struggled finding their way. As an author, I'm in awe of her use of language to convey meaning. For exam...more
Rift Vegan
Apparently Maya's whole life is just one amazing story after another! I am setting aside very important things in order to have more reading time for this series.

Maya is still pretty dumb about men, although not to the stupid extent she went to in Gather Together in My Name. I honestly think she should have apologized for the "Was Greek" incident. It was entirely her fault for using imprecise language. But she says she "just couldn't"... I understand her pride, but that guy was just so gentlema...more
Joni
Jan 28, 2008 Joni rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenagers!!!!!
You might think, considering I'd never even heard of Maya Angelou before, let alone read any of her poems, that it was a bit odd I chose to read part of her autobiography, much less the third part of her autobiography.

I was at a booksigning in a library with my aunt, and it was moving kind of slowly, so I wandered over to the books which were being sold off, because the library wasn't in my home town, so I couldn't borrow any books.

I caught sight of Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like C...more
Ellyn Oaksmith
This book was mid-way through my epic journey of Maya Angelou's autobiographies and I have to say, it's perfect timing. After the pain of her early teens, the horror of some of her childhood and the book that I am now reading, which is filled with angry racial strife, this book is a beam of sunshine. This is the time in Ms. Angelou's life when she was finding her feet as an entertainer.

Much of the serendipity in her life, as we see later, is her uncanny way of attracting influential people. Of...more
Ape
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Molly
This is three of four of the Angelou memoirs I'm working my way through. I'm not sure piling up the last trio like this is so wise, as the punchy attitude she has, that I admire(d), can get relentless. She's human though--a mix of humility and pride, which I readily accepted.

I'm not sure what she meant exactly, when she was faced with the decision of bringing her son to Europe or paying for her flight and her replacement's flight:

"Breen and Bob Dustin had offered to send for him and give me an a...more
Jennifer Lauren Collins
Another installment in Maya Angelou's series of autobiographical works, this installment chronicles Angelou's first steps into show business and fame, as well as further discoveries and adventures in her personal relationships. Though it may be a step less emotional and dramatic than the two earlier works in her series, it is just as poetic and telling. Readers of her earlier works will find it a worthwhile read, and a fast one.

Recommended.
Ireland Fuller
This volume is the third installment of her memoir. Ms. Angelou recounts the years after she left Stamps, Ark and moved to San Francisco in the 1950's. She takes us through her time as a dancer at the Purple Onion during Phyllis Diller's headline years. The Purple Onion puts her in contact with the cast of Porgy and Bess and she joins the traveling company and tours Europe. She is unflinchingly honest in her feelings and thoughts on race in the US and in Europe. She brings a poetic quality to he...more
Linda
Maya Angelou’s life was so interesting that it was impossible not to like this autobiographical installment. The chapter about Billy Holiday was worth reading the entire book. I don’t think that the prose was as poetic as the previous two volumes, but the writing was good. I’m pretty sure that I have read the next one before, but I can’t remember much about it; so I am excited to get started.
Emilie
So far this is the weakest in the series of Maya Angelou's autobiographical series. It rambles quite a bit.

There is not the same care taken with the prose as the first two books. It feels as though "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" was a masterpiece and, when it was a success, she decided to churn more volumes out with less care to storytelling and the melody of prose the first volume had.
Ronald Wise
This one of her series of autobiographical books covers the period of her life in the early 1950s when she goes from being a struggling single mother in San Francisco, to a rather well-known and successful singer and dancer. She joins the troupe producing the Black opera Porgy & Bess as it leaves Canada for a tour of Europe and North Africa, and through her recollections we are able to enjoy the international response to this opera. Maya also reveals her struggle to overcome her deep distrus...more
Therese
(Read 5/2009). 3 of 6 in her autobiographical series. "Singin' and "Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas" takes place during her 20s in the 1950s-60s. This one is much less harsh in content than #2. In this novel she is developing her career, or rather trying to find her career and calling in life. She was a dancer, nightclub singer, and part of the traveling company of Porgy and Bess. This one is a much more fluid and interesting read, and has more of her reflections on life that I love an...more
Jennifer
My current love affair of Maya Angelou's memoirs continues. In this book she becomes involved with show business working as both a nightclub singer and eventually in a company of Porgy and Bess that tours Europe. At one point she is even married to a Greek guy. Meanwhile she deals with the guilt of leaving her son as she bops around Europe with the opera company.

I am just fascinated with her life. She has truly had a myriad of experiences. At this point in the memoirs she was still in her 20s,...more
Mary-Ellen Lynn
The third self-contained volume of Maya Angelou's autobiography sees her move into the adult world; she marries, gets started in show business, subsequently touring Europe and Africa with the cast of 'Porgy and Bess'. This book is remarkable especially for the insight it gives into an interesting and talented casts. Guilt of leaving her son at home spurs Maya into the decision to leave the cast and return to America. In a state of despair, instigated by her guilt of neglecting her child, Maya co...more
Missy  Beinindy
Amazing Amazing continued stories from one of the greatest woman ever lived!!!! full of laughter tears love and hate!!!; I found myself moved!!! As always Maya Angelou writing is charged with that remarkable sense of life and love and unique celebration of human condition that have won her such a loyal following !!!!!!! Terrific job!!!!;
Cathy
I liked the first half of this book better than the last half. I got tired of following her all over Europe, but I still enjoyed hearing about her experiences. Her story inspires.
Alaine
As the third installment of MA's autobiography this book focuses on MA's career as a dancer/singer/performer in Porgy and Bess. I enjoyed her writing and enjoyed this book.
Lorraine
Maya Angelou is a phenomenal woman. This is the third volume of her autobiography and sees her trying to make her way in the world and provide for her son; and her first experiences of success as a singer and dancer. I loved her account of when she toured with the show Porgy and Bess across Europe and North Africa, so excited to see each new place and meet new people. I too love to discover new places. And of course, there are also some gems here - her observations of human nature and life, such...more
Jayne
I think I am more interested in Maya Angelou's quotes and words of wisdom than reading about her life as a dancer. Recommended for anyone into the performing arts. Loved the first few chapters as they were full of poetic similies and descriptions; for example,

"Music was my refuge.I could crawl into the spaces between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."

"...she flitted between customers like a fickle butterfly in a rose garden."

"Their presence among the pretty people enchanted me. It was...more
Kaye
So enjoyable, with ups and downs (but mostly ups) in this installment of Maya Angelou's biography. You find out how she became the legend she is, along with her giving herself some tough medicine throughout (and admitting when she is just justifying her actions to herself). I read these books probably 20 years ago, and from a much younger woman's perspective, and enjoyed them then, but I think I get more out of them now. The only dragging point was in the middle, where we are in a who's who of s...more
Amanda
I just really like her writing. It's engaging and well done. One more to complete the series - the quest continues.
Karen
Great book by a wonderful author. Her language is beautiful and her stories are so interesting!
Toria
Beautifully written, and completely touching. Everyone should read Angelou's biographies.
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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 n...more
More about Maya Angelou...
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings The Heart of a Woman  Letter to My Daughter Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now Gather Together in My Name

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