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

(Maya Angelou's Autobiography #3)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  7,311 ratings  ·  285 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, and the white world as well, as she marries, enters show business, and tours Europe and Africa in Porgy and Bess.

As the book opens, Maya, in order to support herself and her young son, gets a job in a record shop run by a whit
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 13th 1997 by Random House (first published 1976)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  7,311 ratings  ·  285 reviews

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Deacon Tom F
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2 Stars.

Excellent book

I really enjoyed, “Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas” by Maya Angelou. Like the rest of her books, this one is a very easy reading book. This book is the 3rd of 6 incredible volumes.

Her writing, as always, is superb with vivid detail and precise description. As for a plot, it encounters her days with the Greek husband, as well as her, naughty adventures and often naughty adventure of show girl"/dancer.

The book also shows the maturation and develop
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the third of Maya Angelou’s series of autobiographies. It covers the years 1949 to 1955 when Angelou was in her 20s. It covers her forays into the world of work to support her son. Angelou marries a Greek sailor and she charts the course of the marriage until its end. There follows Angelou’s development as a singer and dancer, working in a variety of night clubs. Finally she tours Europe with a production of Porgy and Bess. It is well written and easy to read.
Race is still a central subj
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is Maya Angelou's third book of her autobiography series; Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas.. Whoa, now that's some seriously long title. And now we get to know how Marguerite Johnson became Maya Angelou. This book is weighed down by all her trips with Porgy and Bess and the budding fame that she'd earned. Still, I enjoyed each situation she'd got herself into.

Despite being a parent already and her relationships history, I quite think that she was still a child then, bu
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Readathon April 19th 2020
Maria Fernanda Gama
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is, in comparison to her first two autobiographies, much lighter and easier on the heart. We finally get to see some doors opening for her, and get to be amazed at how she takes every chance life throws at her, and how it almost always pays off.

I do, however, felt a bit overwhelmed by the many events and many different people described in this book. I know it's all important to mention, but with such a hectic pacing, it's really difficult to connect to the people and places. The ending als
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn't realize this was the third in Maya Angelou's memoir series. Picked up at my local used book store, a copy printed in 1981 💗

I knew almost nothing about her life, so I learned a lot (she toured with the first international tour of Porgy and Bess!). This book generally seemed more focused on events/plot, especially towards the second half, which is not my personal preference for memoirs. There was still a good bit of her interior life, which I appreciated.

I'm due to get the audiobook of
Chaitanya Sethi
You know you've lived a life when the third book in your autobiographical series only covers your mid-twenties. We left Ms. Angelou and her son in San Francisco at the end of the second book. Ms. Angelou had just turned 21. This continues right from there. She describes her experiences with finding a stable financial footing for herself, in between working in a record store, moonlighting as an exotic dancer, a bartender, and finally getting her 'break' as a calypso chanteuse in a club called 'Th ...more
Finn Mannerings
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
It lacks the emotional heft of the first two but makes up for it with beautiful language and a delightful exploration of her relationship with her son.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Urenna Sander
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 31, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Thomas DeWolf
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
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
Michael McClain
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Maya Angelou's early 20's puts everyone else's to shame! She experiences her first marriage (and divorce), singing and dancing at nightclubs, a few more odd jobs, all culminating in her acceptance into the ensemble of the international tour of Porgy and Bess. A bulk of the second half of SINGIN' AND SWINGIN'... is focused on the many adventures Maya accumulates in the foreign spots on the tour. From Paris to Rome to Cairo, she discovers new cultures, customs and different attitudes to African-Am ...more
From BBC radio 4 Extra:
Single mother Maya loves music. She meets and marries former sailor Tosh in the record shop where she works, though troubled waters lay ahead.

Maya's Angelou's third volume of vivid memoirs set in the early 1950's

Dramatised by Winsome Pinnock

NARRATOR - Older Maya .... Adjoa Andoh
MAYA .... Pippa Bennett-Warner
TOSH .... Jamie Demetriou
VIVIAN BAXTER .... Ellen Thomas
CLYDE .... Tumo Reetsang
PREACHER .... Steve Toussaint

Director: Pauline Harris

First broadcast in five parts on BB
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Once again, miss Maya Angelou managed to enchant my world ❤️
This woman's life was such an inspiring and touching testament.
When you read one of her books, it's like you're listening to an older, much more wiser friend of yours that shares with you the greatest secret of the universe.
I recommended her books for a while now, and of course this one will be added to that list.
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was my least favorite of her autobiographical series. It just didn't seem to have the depth and personal struggle as the others do. Still a must read if you're going to complete the rest. ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
I must have read at least a part of this book decades back, as the beginning was familiar to me. At this reading so many questions surfaced in my mind.
* In previous volumes Angelou presents herself as almost the poster child of hatred and fear of whites, particularly white men (though it was a black man who raped her as a child, and another black man who turned her out as a prostitute). When she's not actively enraged by them, she is busy ignoring them as if they don't exist, particularly white
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
Jennice Mckillop
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Just so totally impressed by Ms Angelou’s hardworking & tenacious character. And the writing ain’t bad either!
I didn’t read the previous book in the series, but there is some overlapping accounting that naturally references that period of her bio in this issue.
Besides her determination & obvious innate talents, her stars seem to have been in perfect alignment. That is not to discount any of her hard work, but it basically showed her wisdom & bravery in accepting some of the offers that she rece
Chris Maats
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The rich style of writing, the honesty of self-reflection, the descriptions of the context and back story of this African American perspective and its effects on thought and culture and fears and humor and fascinations, the joy and pain and wonder of a courageous stumble and elegant dance through life. A breeze to read.
Mary Blye Kramer
Jul 14, 2020 rated it liked it
I had a tough time giving a Maya Angelou book an average rating but if someone had covered up her name and given me the book to read that’s what it would have amounted to. I think it’s fascinating that she had a career in dance and the stage - I never knew that - and there were some funny moments and the writing was sweet but nothing spectacular. The stories were okay. So there you are.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a life. What a writer. She makes words sing.
Maggie Hyam
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yes I really enjoyed this booked and will probably look at reading some more of Maya's books. ...more
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Felt so good to see Angelou live her dream for a few months
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Wonderful and thorougly enjoyable
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maya Angelou does it again! Can't wait to read the next one! ...more
Jasmeet Kalra
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
what a woman, what a life! "why a caged bird sings" is only a tiny snippet into her life. the rest of the books are fast-paced page turning never-boring stories. she has style, charisma, grit and an uncanny ability to bounce back from the darkest moments.

her poetic writing style is an added bonus. read on!
Feb 09, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite of Maya's autobiography, but important to understanding how she got her name and how she grew into being herself. ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Maya Angelou's Autobiography (7 books)
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou's Autobiography, #1)
  • Gather Together in My Name
  • The Heart of a Woman
  • All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes
  • A Song Flung Up To Heaven
  • Mom & Me & Mom

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