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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  ·  4,192 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Here Maya Angelou, dazzling entertainer, casts the spotlight on her show business career -- a pageant of international scope. Maya, the woman, shares her sad, failed marriage to a white man, her early motherhood and achingly sensitive relationship with her young son, and her bone-deep, painful suspicion of the white world that welcomes her talent so dramatically ... "Hones ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1976)
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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
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
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
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
I didn't fall in love with this one, although I appreciate her honesty and insights as always.

In ways the previous books hadn't this brought home to me how very constant the author's awareness is of her colour. It's not just actions of racism, subtle or overt, it's the constant awareness and being on the lookout for it. I was torn between not being able to imagine having that sort of weight on my consciousness constantly, and of starting to feel like it was something I was not actually invited
Despite the book’s light-hearted title, this third installment of Maya’s autobiography is certainly not all happiness. But once again I couldn’t put the book down, and it left me with a kind of buoyancy, a sense of hope. I appreciate the way Maya faces her own life with such honesty and humor — including times when she was far from honest. As she gets older (the book covers her twenties and, I think, early thirties) her self-possession grows. And as interesting as the events of her life surely w ...more
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
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
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.
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
Part 3 of Maya Angelou's autobiography. Margaurete is finally getting closer to being Maya, the amazing, 'phenomenal' woman she is known to be. In parts 1 and 2, I became really curious about how Maya became Maya. Her life was pretty much a mess. In this book, she takes on her new name and courageously embarks on a foreign adventure as a dancer in the first world tour of 'Porgy and Bess' before audiences who had never seen a group of people 'of color'. She gains self respect, grows as a woman an ...more
What did Maya Angelou not do in her life? After realising she was on a path of self destruction at the end of her last book, Book 3 starts with her working two jobs to support herself and her son. She gets a better job in a record store, meets an American-Greek sailor who she marries and lives happily for 2 years. In year 3 they are divorced.
She becomes a dancer/entertainer in a strip club. When her success makes her fellow dancers jealous she is forced out and needs to find another job. She st
Maya Angelou is an interesting and articulate writer who has lived an amazing life. In this book so many of the things she chronicles are almost too much to believe - getting to preform for Eartha Kitt! (amongst other famous celebrities and musicians). But it is her down-to-earth writing and her personal humility that I find engrossing. She doesn't sugarcoat to make it sound better for the reader. She isn't trying to flatter herself. As a single mother who went from having nothing to a respected ...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
Maya Angelou's beauty shines through her writing... When she narrates her life story, you can't help but be transported into her world, feel what she felt.. A phenomenal woman.
50 a year
My adventure into the depths of Maya Angelou’s autobiography continues, this time with volume 3. The first volume, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings covers her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas, and the second, Gather Together in My Name follows her first loves and the early years of her son’s life.

In Singin’ and Swingin’ we see a much more emotionally mature and stable Angelou, beginning to forge a career as a singer and dancer in the entertainment industry.

Read the rest of my review on my blog:
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
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
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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
Tuscany Bernier
I was looking forward to the third installment of this series. It felt like it dragged on for a long time though. I fell asleep reading it several times because of how boring and monotonous it was.

I liked that it explored the feelings of a mother who has chosen a fulfilling career and how she felt leaving her son behind. How she interacted with everybody in Europe and how she coped with her failed marriage to Mr. Angelos, the Greek guy. I found it slightly interesting. :)
Covers the period where Ms Angelou starts really coming into her own, gets discovered, and starts meeting and interacting with a seemingly endless line of famous figures from Black American history. After reading about the hardships she endured, I found myself internally cheering for her as she takes to the stage as a dancer and singer, and then on a whirlwind European tour as a member of the cast of Porgy & Bess. This woman.
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.

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
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
(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
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,
I found this book written 40 years ago to be an interesting read. Angelou writes from an intelligent standpoint. She stands on the pros but knows that the cons are there. She had an ability to learn enough of any language to move around freely as she travelled with the Porgy and Bess troupe, and she interacted with the locals wherever she was.
Not my favorite of her memoirs, but still a glorious read. 1950s interactions between races in the L.A. area; I can't believe Maya was such a well-known performer, dancer, singer, actress in "Porgy and Bess". I sort of skipped over that last part though, especially since this is my second reading of the book.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Maya Angelou's Autobiography (6 books)
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Gather Together in My Name
  • The Heart of a Woman
  • All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes
  • A Song Flung Up To Heaven

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