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For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.
Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise to the heights.

201 pages, Hardcover

First published April 2, 2013

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About the author

Maya Angelou

254 books12.7k followers
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 nominated for a National Book Award and called her magnum opus. Her volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die (1971) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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5 stars
10,911 (45%)
4 stars
8,623 (35%)
3 stars
3,723 (15%)
2 stars
714 (2%)
1 star
237 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,334 reviews
February 23, 2020
I've listened to the abridged version of this. It's achingly good. So good I ordered the hardback. I just had to read the whole book in print. Every word. I could see this book was destined for my list of favourite books.

But I was wrong.

I think what happened was that the editor who abridged the book for five episodes of 15 minutes each was a genius at picking out only the unique and wonderful scenes and leaving out the more boring reminiscences.

I wonder if Maya Angelou's power with words isn't waning with age and her delight in herself, always evident in her many autobiographical books, isn't increasing?

The book was about two people, Maya Angelou who apart from a dreadful incident of rape by her mother's husband (scarcely mentioned in the book) had not lived a hard life by any means. This is not a story of a poor black girl from the wrong side of the tracks making it despite everything. It's the story of a very clever, multi-talented young (and eventually middle-aged) woman trying out lots of things from burlesque to screen-writing and, like King Midas, turning to gold everything she touched.

It's also the story of a mother who did not raise her children but sent them to their paternal grandmother and eventually had them returned to her in their teens. She was well-off, self-indulgent, clever, amusing and when not consumed with her own self-centred selfishness, had her daughter's back.

This sounds like it could be a good memoir, right? But it wasn't, it just never took off. There have been too many prior volumes of autobiography that have used all the best anecdotes and this is just a book because Maya Angelou wanted to write it, and her die-hard fans, like me, would buy it and read it.

Not quite so much a fan though now.

Edit: Tell me, how can this be such a bad review I get a troll? It's 3 star, it praises Maya Angelou, yet I get some troll playing the race card about 'poor Maya Angelou'. She might have grown up in politically difficult times, but she grew up with a wealthy mother and household staff. . Of course it's from a private profile, these comments taking exception to my reviews (and, in this instance, some of the comments as well) always are, that or a sock puppet.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,125 reviews30.2k followers
May 25, 2017
The audio was read by Maya Angelou herself. Angelou has always been a special wonder to me. She was a professor at a nearby university, and I grew up mesmerized by her. It makes me sad to think this was her last book, that there will be no more gifts like this one. The mother-daughter relationship she experienced was tentative, tender, and complicated. This was only a fraction of her life experience shared, and the distance she traveled in that time, the adversity she and her mother overcame; it was heartening. Vivian Baxter ended up being quite the mother and protector to Maya.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,743 reviews2,268 followers
June 28, 2017
”This book has been written to examine some of the ways love heals and helps a person to climb impossible heights and rise from immeasurable depths.”

Two months ago, I read Maya Angelou’s “Letter to My Daughter” – the first of Angelou’s books I read. This morning, I read “Mom & Me & Mom” which was delightful, wonderful, sometimes sad, sometimes not, but throughout has that same lovely tone that I found in “Letter to My Daughter.” I’d read poems of hers before, seen her speak, although not in person, but there’s something about her that just reaches inside your soul and tugs on it while reading, or listening, to her words. Someday, I will get an audio copy of this to listen to, I suspect just hearing her distinctive voice read these words would add another level of impact.

”Suppose I really am going to become somebody, imagine.”

Mothers and Daughters. In Maya’s case, she barely knew her mother, Vivian Baxter, before she was shipped off to live with her paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson, along with her brother Bailey. Bailey was five years old to Maya’s three. Babies, put on a train with notes attached to them.

”I was three and Bailey was five when we arrived in Stamps, Arkansas. We had identification tags on our arms and no adult supervision. “

It would take a while for them to re-establish a place for her mother in Maya’s life, and primarily in her heart. For a long time, she called her Lady, which made me smile, a name my daughter calls me now and then. When she was first re-entering that space, with a new stepfather in the picture, their relationship was cautious, tentative, slowly growing over the years – but growing.

“She had my back, supported me. This is the role of the mother, and in that visit I really saw clearly, and for the first time, why a mother is really important. Not just because she feeds and also loves and cuddles and even mollycoddles a child, but because in an interesting and maybe an eerie and unworldly way, she stands in the gap. She stands between the unknown and the known.”

There are some of the stories of her life that are included in her “Letter to My Daughter,” but there is sometimes comfort in that, much like once-again hearing some of my father’s favourite flying stories when he had a new, and willing, audience. There’s joy in hearing wisdom repeated, tales that your heart takes and translates into your life, your language, your being. I loved reading about the progression of their relationship, Maya and her mother, Vivien, when all those doubts had faded away, when proof of love was no longer required or questioned, and most of all I loved seeing more of her heart and its wisdom.

”Her love and support encouraged me to dare to live my life with pizazz.”

Highly Recommended
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,345 reviews4,864 followers
January 10, 2022

Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Annie Johnson) was an African-American poet, singer, actress, writer, director, producer, composer, and civil rights activist. Angelou wrote a series of seven autobiographies, of which "Mom & Me & Mom" - published when Angelou was 85-years-old - is the last. This final memoir concentrates on Angelou's relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter, a petite but formidable woman who helped make Angelou the strong independent woman she was.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's mother, Vivian Baxter, as a young woman

Angelou's mother Vivian was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1912, and brought up by a father who encouraged his kids not to take any crap from anyone and to (literally) fight everyone who crossed them. Even as a child, little Vivian wielded a hefty stick and tussled alongside her big brothers. So it's not surprising that Vivian, who was a trained nurse, eventually ran casinos in Alaska and joined the Merchant Marines - unusual jobs for women (especially black women) in the first half of the 20th century.

Vivian and her husband, Bailey Johnson, had two children - Bailey Jr. (born in 1927) and Maya (born in 1928).

The Johnsons divorced when the siblings were 4 and 3, and the kids were sent to live with their paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson, in Stamps, Arkansas. The children stayed in Stamps until Bailey became a teenager and began to rebel against the 'entitled' white population. Fearing for Bailey's safety, Henderson brought the children to their mother in San Francisco, California. Maya was angry at her mom for abandoning her as a toddler, and refused to address Vivian as 'Mother' for years.....instead calling her 'Lady.'

Angelou gave birth to her son Guy when she was 17, after purposely losing her virginity to a handsome neighborhood lothario. Vivian's calm acceptance of her daughter's pregnancy - and her assistance with the birth - apparently warmed Maya's heart.....and she started to call Vivian 'Mother.'

Young Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou and her son Guy

As a teenager, Angelou - with the support of her mother, got a job as the first black conductress on a San Francisco streetcar. Afterwards young Maya, lithe and six feet tall, had a variety of jobs, including: restaurant cook; singer/dancer in a strip club; and actress in a a traveling production of 'Porgy and Bess.' Uncertain about working in a nightclub, Angelou sought her mother's advice, and Vivian helped design costumes that were just revealing enough. 😊

Maya Angelou performing

Angelou covers her schooling in other books, but - over the years - she learned about literature, writing, music, theatre, dancing, and so on.

Angelou seems to have had some bad luck with men, and talks about two abusive relationships: one with a jealous boyfriend who beat her to a pulp and locked her in his apartment - from which her mother rescued her; and one with her first husband Tosh Angelos who she married in 1951 and divorced in 1954 - much to her mother's relief.

Vivian also 'came to the rescue' when Angelou's screenplay for the 1972 movie "Georgia, Georgia" was being filmed in Sweden. The writer's presence on the movie set apparently made the actors nervous, and she was asked to make herself scarce. Feeling like an outcast, Angelou called her mom, who immediately flew to Stockholm. Vivian charmed the actors with her delicious dinners and wonderful stories, and Angelou felt more accepted because 'her mother had her back.'

It's clear from Angelou's anecdotes that she grew very close to her mother, who supported Maya's life and career every step of the way.

Maya Angelou and her mother Vivian Baxter

Angelou also writes about some of her difficult experiences, like being raped at the age of eight, during a rare stay at her mother's home. Maya revealed the rapist's name, after which he was killed.....probably by Maya's uncles. This led to Maya's refusing to speak (except to her brother) for five years, because 'her voice was powerful enough to kill a man.'

Angelou also talks about living on the streets for a summer, after being attacked by her father's 'wife' during a visit. Maya slept in junkyard cars and scrounged food - along with other teens who lived the same way - before finally returning to her mother's home in San Francisco.

In addition to tales about her mother, Angelou tells many stories about her brother and son - both of whom she adored.

Maya Angelou's brother Bailey Johnson Jr.

Maya Angelou's son Guy

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author with no drama or hyperbole....so one might be lulled into thinking Angelou had an ordinary life. Of course nothing could be farther from the truth as Angelou was a remarkable woman....and this book tells part of her extraordinary story.

I enjoyed "Mom & Me & Mom" and highly recommend it.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,007 reviews36k followers
March 8, 2023
Audiobook….read by Maya Angelou
….4 hours

I always met to read this. Too many gems slip through our fingers, don’t they?
…..as one reader said,
“I’m giving this book 5 stars because there is no place to give it 10”.
Point is …..it’s just a very personal beautiful book…. and I liked that readers ten star enthusiasm.

From me….
my god….
I felt everything…
my god….
it’s a rocket ship filled with insights, wisdom, perseverance, and forgiveness….
my god….
Mother’s are not perfect …
my god …
they are still the mother …
my god ….
even a mother too young, too inexperienced, who make’s terrible mistakes….
still loves you.
my god …
“Lady” took Maya many years to forgive ….
she did!

Brutally Beautiful!!!!!!

As for the audiobook….
It’s Angelou-audio-addicting!!! … with her penetrating powerful gorgeous voice.
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,020 reviews921 followers
August 14, 2017
I read this first book to Maya's autobiographies and then saw this one (the last one) available and decided to read it. I read these books for the Goodreads' book club Diversity in All Forms. If you would like to participate in the discussion here is the link below: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

In this story Maya shares her deep and difficult relationship with her mother all the way to her mom's passing. Three-year-old Maya and her older brother were sent to Arkansas to live with their grandmother. Maya lived there for years without seeing or knowing her mother at all. Mom & Me & Mom, shares Maya's story of her mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.

This was a great read and it didn't feel out of place to skip around in her autobiographies. I plan to read books 2-6 in the future for book club.
Profile Image for Lucy.
415 reviews610 followers
July 3, 2018

I knew that I had become the woman I am because of the grandmother I loved and the mother I came to adore. Their love informed, educated, and liberated me.

you learned that you have power and determination... With those two things, you can go anywhere and everywhere.

This book was heart-wrenching and uplifting. This book is Maya Angelou's final work (I believe), published a year before her death in 2014. This book focuses on her mother, Vivian Baxter, who abandoned Maya Angelou at a young age, as well as during her young adult/early 20's, and portrays their complicated, tumultuous relationship. This book reviews the special connection of mother and child; between Vivian Baxter and Maya Angelou. Both of these women were able to move on and form such a strong loving, inspiring and supporting bond.

Before this book I had only read one other of Maya Angelou's biography- 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' published in 1969 (also a very powerful and interesting read if you have the chance to read it). There is a very long length of time between these two publications but Mom and Me and Mom almost reads like a sequel. During this book she revisits episodes noted in her previous works but has approached it from a new angle, focusing around the relationship with her mother.

Vivian Baxter is a powerful and beautiful women. She isn't perfect and is a very fierce character. She is also admirable and empowering. We are shown how she influences and helps Maya Angelou develop as a character and into her own skin. She shows encouragement and has a hand in the evolution of Maya Angelou as the writer and poet we still love today.

It was amazing to learn about both these two women. Two women I describe as power houses due to their sheer brilliance. I was especially excited to learn about Vivian Baxter as I had little knowledge of this character that played such a big part in the evolution of Maya Angelou's work, decisions, independence and self-awareness.

Both Vivian Baxter and Maya Angelou were fierce activists. Vivian Baxter set her heart out to help those who had been marginilised by society. Those people who were black, gay, women, poor, etc. and she accomplished this. In a way I think these accomplishments had a hand in the progression of helping Maya Angelou achieve so much, despite a society riddled in racism with the view that black women 'won't achieve', she did just that with Vivian Baxter's encouragement and fierceness.

I will put my foot in their door up to my hip until every woman can get in that union, and can get aboard a ship and go to sea.

It was also great that Angelou acknowledges the relationship that her brother, Bailey, has with their mother and how this is different from the one Angelou shares with her. It is great that Angelou accepts why that relationship is so different to her own with Vivian Baxter.

Overall this book is probably one of my favourite biographies. It explores such an interesting relationship between mother and daughter and the turmoils both must face and how to overcome this. This had beautiful quotes littered throughout that my book is covered in post-its. Overall, this is a fantastic piece of 'final' work published before Maya Angelou's death.
Profile Image for Laura.
129 reviews129 followers
March 11, 2021
“Love heals. Heals and liberates. I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins.”

“I really saw clearly, and for the first time, why a mother is really important. Not just because she feeds and also loves and cuddles and even mollycoddles a child, but because in an interesting and maybe an eerie and unworldly way, she stands in the gap. She stands between the unknown and the known.”

A refreshing slap in the face.

I had studied some of Angelou’s poems when I was in uni but I had never really made any research about who she was, as a woman, a daughter and a mum. I picked up this book upon Emma Watson’s praising comments. Here is a video of her dropping copies of the book all over New York’s subway, I found it adorable – I particularly liked the idea that she only chose Angelou’s book and that she encouraged people to pick up the book if they found it, read it and then leave it for someone else to find and read as well. The mere act of passing the book over to strangers comforted me with the idea that Mom & Me & Mom was a gift, it was a hereditary book that would connect everyone, mothers and daughters but also anyone who wanted to embark on such a beautiful human journey.

I discovered a Maya Angelou I wasn’t expecting (I was surprised to read about her short experience as a strip tease dancer!), but beyond her autobiographical journey, I rediscovered my bond with my own mum. I was raised by my dad and kind of related to the young Maya believing in the ‘abandonment’ of her own blood – Just like the author, I understood later on that she never left me but rather made the best decision as a mother to take care of me. Mom & Me & Mom made me want to jump on a plane, and hug my mum tightly, if it hadn’t been for the pandemic. I feel honoured to have read about Vivian Baxter and have learnt a lot from her.

The rawness and honesty in Angelou’s voice enchanted me from her very first words, and I couldn’t believe this book had been published a year before her passing – it sounds so universally timeless! The top quote I shared in my review made sense when I finished the book, and thus think including it at the beginning of the book was a very interesting choice – it acted as a preface to an inherent truth, the one of being mother but also woman.

I will end this emotional review by quoting one last sentence from this wonderful book: “Go," she whispered. "Go. Show them you spell your name W-O-M-A-N.”
Profile Image for Kerene.
13 reviews
April 13, 2013
I was expecting a letdown. After holding her in the highest regard, reading all of her books - especially loving her autobiographies - it wasn't until college that I was mature enough to appreciate her poetry - I didn't think there was anything more she could say. Hasn't she said enough? The spell would be gone. How could it possibly hold me from the age of 9 to 33? I was wrong. It was very much like greeting an old friend. The beginning of the book was glittered with old truths wisely told in her first autobiography. I was a little confused, and even flipped back to the title page to make sure I had downloaded the right book. It wasn't long before the reader is securely reacquainted and eager to travel the familiar roads. Her mother is awesome, and never fails to surprise - whether she's brandishing a handgun in a hotel lobby, or knocking down a door to save her dying daughter, you will listen, learn, and re-learn wisdom. I definitely enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for Isaac Samuel Miller.
Author 1 book54 followers
April 12, 2020
Awesome biography! I highly recommend. -Isaac Samuel Miller (Author of, Just Get Up: And Manifest Your Inner Genius)
Profile Image for Vanessa.
462 reviews290 followers
July 12, 2017
A simple touching memoir that traces the early days of how a young Maya Angelou is reunited with her mother after many years of estrangement and abandonment. We get to meet "Lady" as Maya calls her mother the vivacious Vivian Baxter. The tone of the writing and also narrated by Maya herself in this audiobook is delightful and lovely, there's almost a childlike quality in her storytelling. To know that Maya was once a shy young girl who hardly spoke at all makes you see her magnificent growth as a woman with a magic soul and tender heart. Her self belief and pure goodness makes her a beacon of light for those who haven't started with much but possess a steely determination to make something of herself and inspire others. A humble story like this makes you feel much adoration for this wonderful and much loved woman who with the power of forgiveness learns much wisdom from the woman who gives her birth.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,736 reviews14.1k followers
March 26, 2013
I loved this memoir by Angelou, because although many horrible things happened to her this is not a pity memoir. It is presented and told in a straight forward manner, a kind of this is my story take it or leave it. Loved the relationship between her and her mom, although that relationship took a while in coming, also the love she felt for her brother, Bailey. She accomplished so many things, in so many different fields and places, which is awe inspiring, especially during the time period when women were fighting to be recognized, let alone a black women. Loved the pictures, wish there had been a few more. What a admirable woman and role model. ARC from NetGalley and publisher.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,408 reviews
April 17, 2013
Maya Angelou never disappoints when she writes a book. Mom and Me and Mom is a book devoted to her mother Vivian Baxter. When Maya was three she was sent to Stamps Arkansas with her then five year old brother Bailey. she wrote a book "I know why the Caged Bird Sings" describing her ten years there with her grandmother who raised the two children. Maya Angelou knew very little about her mother until she was thirteen and sent to San Francisco to live with her mother. Her Book Mom & Me & Mom describes her life and experiences and her mother's involvement with her life. She also speaks of her beloved son Guy who she had at seventeen years old. this is sort of a "love story" devoted to her mother and how she inspired and encouraged her talented to daughter to reach for the sky and succeed. Maya Angelou went on to make her mother proud. the book ends with her mother's death of lung cancer. at the end of the book Maya tells her mother"you were a terrible mother of small children,but there has never been anyone greater than you as a mother of a young adult"
i found this to be a touching well written book. I enjoyed reading very much.
Profile Image for Barbara.
273 reviews214 followers
December 6, 2019
Everyone needs a cheerleader in their life. Vivian Baxter, Maya Angelou's mother, was just that person. Although for ten years the young Angelou had no contact with her mother, once they were reunited, her mother gave Maya the love and encouragement she needed to rise above immeasurable odds and become one of America's most renowned and beloved poets. Maya Angelou, a stripper, a singer? Who knew!

I enjoyed reading this poignant and inspirational story of woman I have long admired.
Profile Image for Donna.
541 reviews182 followers
December 12, 2015
Maya Angelou was a woman who wore many hats. She was an author, a poet, a civil rights activist, a singer, a dancer, an actress, a professor, a composer, and so much more. But she was also a daughter, a sister, and a mother. And those roles were what this book, her seventh and final autobiography, focused on, connecting them back to the one person who had, for better or worse, influenced her the most--her mother, Vivian Baxter.

Ms. Angelou's relationship with her mother was a complicated one that changed greatly over her lifetime. Maya's parents divorced when she was three, and neither parent could cope with raising their children on their own, so Maya and her older brother, Bailey, were sent to live with their paternal grandmother for a decade. Her grandmother took fine care of them, but she wasn't any substitute for the mother whom both children longed for each day. Eventually, Maya's mother sent for the children, prepared to be a mother to them again. But Maya and her brother weren't prepared to be her daughter and son, no longer trusting their mother or willing to forgive and forget her abandonment of them. Maya went so far as to refuse to call Vivian "Mother" and settled on calling her "Lady" instead, while her brother had his own issues, with devastating consequences. And later on, as Maya grew into her own person, it became clear to her that her mother's abandonment could appear in many forms that had nothing to do with whether her mother was physically present or not. There were times when her mother blew in and out of her life, showing love and attention, then withdrawing them when she disapproved of Maya's choices.

So how did Maya get beyond this point to where she could write this book honoring her mother whom she would later point to as the reason she was able to to be whatever or whomever she chose to be? That's what this book will tell you. And it will tell you many other things about the author's life that were as strange and fantastical as anything you'd find in a work of fiction.

This book sounds interesting so far, so why only three stars? As lovely as this story sounds, a near fairy tale, though a dark one at times, the style in which the book was written took much away from its impact for me. The dialogue was written in such a strange, stiff way, a near robotic, herky-jerky way, as if it had been written in a different language originally and had been put through google translate to transform it into stilted English. Whatever the reason for this stylistic choice, it sounded unnatural and made it difficult for me to believe these were the actual words spoken by Maya and the people in her life.

Another problem I had with the book was all the skipping around of events that occurred in the last third of it. Up until that point, the telling of the events in the author's life proceeded smoothly in a natural sequence. Then suddenly, the sections were leaping forward in time by months or years, and sometimes decades. What happened to and during all that missing time? I never did learn the answer to this. And as for what the author did choose to include, I sometimes asked myself, "Is this stuff for real?" So much of it seemed like a soap opera. But instead of there being histrionics, Maya reported everything that happened calmly like she was reading off a grocery list. Maybe this detachment was how she could face the physical and emotional abuse she endured, but it seemed strange and kept me at a distance from her.

So, for me, this book was worth reading for what I learned about the author, and for its inspiring message of love and perseverance. But I never truly connected with Maya, her mother, or her brother due to the stilted language and glossing over of certain elements in her life. Still, I guess this book did as the author intended. She wanted to show that love heals and liberates, and she did so by celebrating her successes that she attributed to her mother. It made me think about my own daughters and how I hope I have helped them, as well.
Profile Image for Кремена Михайлова.
607 reviews179 followers
December 30, 2017
Много първи срещи имах тази година. Включително с Мая Анджелоу. Не зная защо съм очаквала, че тя има интересен литературен стил. А общо взето не ми хареса как пише. Не зная дали е така във всичките ѝ книги. Може би просто разказва за живота си както може и не е толкова важно как е описан той (натурално разбира се); самият живот си заслужава внимание, както при немалко афроамериканци от онова време. Въпреки че точно в тази книга не разбрах много за дейността на Анджелоу срещу сегрегацията и дискриминацията; сигурно защото е книга за майката. Не разбрах също как се става писател в Ню Йорк, може би в друга книга. Но се радвам, че чрез семейството на авторката бях в любимия Сан Франциско.

Трябваха ми 5-6 страници, за да свикна с този стил (не че е лош, просто беше непознат и неочакван за мен, а и не всеки може и трябва да пише автобиографии като Карл Уве Кнаусгор). След това се потопих без претенции в историята и не ми попречи изобщо това, че сме чели безброй книги за изоставени деца (предния ден прочетох ранните разкази на Труман Капоти). Започнах да си отбелязвам силните страници – 25, 27, 28, 30, 31 – и ми стана ясно: докато по-големият брат Бейли присъства точно такъв, какъвто е в тези страници, все ще има да ги отбелязвам като любими.

Може би в началото ми беше и леко некомфортно от това, че дадена група се има за най-важна на света. Много грубо може да прозвучи това, но правя аналогия – например заради вечните несгоди по презумпция да се считат за жертви евреите, арменците, бедните, чернокожите… Сякаш само по себе си това е за съжаление и основа за всякакви произведения. Пак се оправдавам – аз обожавам именно книги за такива „групи“, но да са със смислен пълнеж, а не предимно – Аз съм такъв, горкичкият аз, съжалете ме… Изобщо не казвам, че тази книга е такава, а и си спомням за кои години става въпрос и как също бих се бунтувала срещу всеизвестната дискриминация. Но се зарадвах как най-добре го каза майката на Мая:

„Нека да забравим за белите жени и просто да помислим за себе си.“

Най-тъжно ми беше друго – как изхвърча детството на това момиче. Сигурно в другите книги има много повече за ранните ѝ години, но и тук става ясно, че рано е свършило – дали когато е забременяла много малка, дали когато на 3 години е изоставена от майка си, дали когато е изнасилена като малко момиченце… Не ми се иска да чета другите книги на Анджелоу за детството (ако има такива), сигурно е страхотия. Жал ми е още, че повече не се спомена за тази велика баба Ани, която я е отгледала; може би пак в другите книги (а и татковците изчезват, за да се стигне до „четвъртия ми баща“). Затова се връщам при любимия батко Бейли:

„Но Бейли никога не ме беше подтиквал в погрешна посока.“
„Бейли ме съветваше да не съдя, преди да го видя.“
„Бейли, която благодат, моят брат, моето сърце, моето Царство небесно…“

Но разбира се главното за брата и сестрата е МАМА. Нейните отсъствия и присъствия. Еднакво силно изразени и двете. Като я няма – няма я, празна дупка. Като я има – дирижира уверено и дори безцеремонно.

„Годините, които бях прекарала в Арканзас без майка ми, ми бяха донесли знанието колко изгубено се чувства детето, когато родителят го няма.“

„.. аз помнех как се чувствахме в малкото случаи, когато тя ни беше пращала играчки. Изваждах очите на всяка кукла, а Бейли разбиваше на парчета с огромни камъни опакованите в красива хартия камиончета или влакчета.“

„Когато погледнеше Майка, погледът му беше сложен: обожанието се смесваше с разочарованието.“


„И запомни: винаги можеш да се прибереш у дома.“
„С теб съм, хлапе.“
„Знаех, че ако тя казва, че идва, значи идва.“
„Мисля, че се срещаме прекалено често с майка ти.“
„Тя беше зад гърба ми, подкрепяше ме. Това е ролята на майка ми и по време на това посещение наистина видях явно и за първи път защо една майка е наистина важна. Не само защото храни, обича и гушка, а и глези детето, но и заради това, че по интересен и може би плашещ и надчовешки начин тя запълва пропастта. Тя стои между непознатото и познатото.“

Този контраст се получава може би заради това, което наистина се случва понякога:

„Ти беше ужасна майка на малки деца, но никой никога не е бил по-велик родител от теб на пораснали младежи.“

В крайна сметка Мая Анджелоу боготвори майка си в книгата; по-добре, отколкото да се оплаква и да негодува.

„… такава е Вивиан Бакстър.“
„Трудно беше да ѝ се устои.“
„… много се смеем. Първо на самите себе си, след това един на друг.“

Дива, бойна, променлива, непримирима, влиятелна, емоционална. Жената с много и дълги „лекции“ не за студенти, а за собствената си пораснала дъщеря.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,210 reviews
August 6, 2017
Normally I would give 4 stars to this engaging and informative biography because it felt a bit rushed but I want to give 5 stars because of sentimentality and that it was narrated by Maya Angelou herself which was so great and I really enjoyed learning about her personal life and how it impacted her as an artist/writer/teacher.
If you love Maya Angelou this is a must read (preferably on audio!).
Profile Image for Gretchen Rubin.
Author 42 books88.8k followers
November 3, 2020
A beautiful and honest tribute to a difficult, loving, and beloved mother.
Profile Image for Sarah.
131 reviews45 followers
February 25, 2018
Love heals. Heals and liberates. I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins.

Maya Angelou's writing has a way of making you feel cared for. It's like a warm hug on a cold winter day. Mom & Me & Mom was such a great read! I breezed by it very quickly and found myself tearing up at the most unexpected things. I don't necessarily like biographies that much, but Angelou's always has such a profound effect on my emotions ... I just feel like I want to read them all.

This book deals with Angelou's relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter, who abandoned her at a young age and was sent to live with her grandmother in Arkansas alongside her brother, Bailey. Their relationship is so complex and heart-warming to read about! The relationship they build from the ground up, full of love, warmth, and care is so cute it just made me want to appreciate the people in my life more.

“You’ve been a hard worker—white, black, Asian, and Latino women ship out of the San Francisco port because of you. You have been a shipfitter, a nurse, a real estate broker, and a barber. Many men and—if my memory serves me right—a few women risked their lives to love you. You were a terrible mother of small children, but there has never been anyone greater than you as a mother of a young adult.”

I don't think I've read anything as close to showing the capabilities of human love. The path to redemption is a life-long journey that fortunately, Vivian Baxter and Maya Angelou were able to accomplish together.

5 glorious stars!

Profile Image for Sheila .
1,921 reviews
July 31, 2013
I have not read any other books by Maya Angelou, but have always wanted to read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Maybe I should have started with that book.

Instead, I started with this new autobiography about the author and her mother, and while it was interesting, somehow it was lacking for me. In my mind I had built this idea of what I expected from Maya Angelou writing, and this did not live up to my possibly overblown expectations.

The story of her life with her mother was interesting, but when I finished I couldn't help but think that if this book had been written by someone with an unknown name it never would have been published. This could have been written by any woman, anywhere, and it would be completely ignored. But since it has the name Maya Angelou on it, it sells. Heck, I bought it. So there you go.
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,898 reviews198 followers
August 25, 2017
The late Maya Angelou wrote an exceptional memoir on her charismatic, if flawed, mother, Vivian Baxter. The only thing that this slim volume needed to make it perfect was for Dr. Angelou to read it herself. Which she did in this edition. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sherri.
4 reviews
March 11, 2013
First I like to say thank you to The Random House Publishing Group for providing me with an early copy of "Mom & Me & Mom" via Goodreads First Reads program. I can still remember picking up a tattered copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in my teens when I didn't think much of reading. It was the book that transformed me into a bookworm.

In Mom & Me & Mom, Maya Angelou engages the reader right off the bat. This book spans Maya's interactions with her mother throughout her life. One can easily see how "Lady B" had a pronounced effect on Ms Angelou when reading the life lessons that Vivian Baxter taught her daughter and the way in which she taught them.

Vivian Baxter was a indomitable force who, though sometimes didn't use conventional ways to get her desired outcome, always seemed to achieve her desired goal.

Mom & Me & Mom explores Maya's arduous yet highly rewarding relationship with her mother through the many highs and lows of her long career and brings the reader to an understanding of how Ms Angelou became the person she is today.

For fans of Maya Angelou's work, this book will give the reader a deeper understanding of the many trials and tribulations of her life and her relationship with her mother. For other readers, this is and excellent testament to the difficulties and rewards that a challenging yet gratifying mother daughter relationship can bring.

Profile Image for Celia.
1,193 reviews152 followers
December 11, 2022
A touching memoir showing Maya's relationship to her mother - and to herself!!

Maya and her brother Bailey were sent to live with her grandparents. Maya's mother and dad were divorcing and Mom did not feel she could take care of the kids.

"I was three and Bailey was five when we arrived in Stamps, Arkansas."

Ten years later, Vivian Baxter did ask for them back. Things did not go well, at first.

“Come on, baby, smile for Mother. Come on. Be charitable.... It is a beautiful smile. Mother’s beautiful daughter can smile.”

Many things are revealed about Maya too. She had a son out of wedlock who she kept and named Guy. She eventually married Tosh Angelou, from whom she separated/divorced. She like the name Angelou, so kept it.

Maya could sing, dance and write. She could also teach. A favorite quote:

"I found after teaching one year that I had misunderstood my calling. I had thought that I was a writer who could teach. I found to my surprise that I was actually a teacher who could write."

My favorite quote of all sums up the book well. As Vivian lay dying of liver cancer, Maya said:

"You were a terrible mother of small children, but there has never been anyone greater than you as a mother of a young adult.”

4 stars
Profile Image for Lisa Barr.
27 reviews5 followers
April 7, 2013
I don't think it fair of me to gush about Dr. Angelou simply because I adore her, or because her books are the reason I am a writer now. I met her over 26 yrs ago and having the very honorable opportunity to speak with her again, have her touch my writing hand...again and sharing some very special words with me...again was the highlight of my week. As to the book. Very quick read. Very insightful and very different from anything she has ever written before. This is an insight into who she is, her life and the relationships she had with her mother and grandmother. It also sheds light on her relationship with her brother, which is extremely special. Personally, in my opinion, a wonderful gift to the mom or mother-figure in your life.
Profile Image for Lou.
879 reviews859 followers
April 4, 2013
A story of truth from Maya Angelou’s life, its a tale of the love for her mother, her journey of learning and loving life. The authors journey inspires, her words enrich and warm the reader, she captivates, has your attention, she invites you into her world, her hard times and good times, her fears and hopes on her road of discovery, her writing flows fluidly, you feel part of her turbulent life for a time.
You learn of her growth, her jobs and her love for music and art.

This is a memorable story of two great women Maya Angelou and Vivian Baxter. Their story may inspire, and be a lesson to those that feel like just giving up and quitting, they had plenty of fight, determination, love and hope.

“She made a funny face and against my will, I smiled. She kissed me on my lips and started to cry. “That’s the first time I have seen your smile. It is a beautiful smile. Mother’s beautiful daughter can smile.”
I was not used to being called beautiful.
That day, I learned that I could be a giver simply by bringing a smile to another person. The ensuing years have taught me that a kind word or a vote of support can be charitable gift. I can move over and make another place for another to sit. I can turn my music up if it pleases, or down if it is annoying.
I may never be known as a philanthropist, but I certainly want to be known as charitable.”

“If pessimism insists on occupying my thoughts, I remember there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.”

“I had a physical response to art. I breathed deeply and was relieved. For the first time in my life art seemed to have a tonal quality. I could almost hear the art as if it were a great chord of a symphonic piece.”

“This is the role of the mother, and in that visit I really saw clearly, and for the first time, why a mother is really important. Not just because she feeds and also loves and cuddles and even mollycoddles a child, but because in an interesting and maybe an eerie and unworldly way, she stands in the gap. She stands between the unknown and the known.”

“You’ve been a hard worker-white, black, Asian, and Latino women ship out of the San Francisco port because of you. You have been a shipfitter, a nurse, a real estate broker, and a barber. Many men and-if my memory serves me right-a few women risked their lives to love you. You were a terrible mother of small children, but there has never been anyone greater than you as a mother of a young adult.”(Maya Angelou said to her mother)

Review and some videos of Maya Angelou narrating her poetry @ http://more2read.com/review/mom-me-mom-by-maya-angelou/
Profile Image for Nermin Lleshi.
48 reviews88 followers
April 14, 2022
Pjesa e parë e këtij libri është një përmbledhje e librit “Unë e di pse këndon zogu në kafaz”, madje më çuditi, sepse dallova disa detaje ndryshe, ndërkohë që është historia e jetës së saj, pra prisja të ishte kryekëput njësoj, ndaj më bëri t’ia dyshoj pak vërtetësinë e fjalëve, por në tërësi është libër po aq i mirë.
Profile Image for Renata Freire.
103 reviews7 followers
May 23, 2022
I can tell Maya Angelou and her family had some tough times due their lives, but after all, I can tell that all of them made it through a hard, racist, and misogynic society. She was a beautiful soul who inspired a lot of young women out there. I'm so thankful for Emma Watson influenced me to read this incredible autobiography. Rest easy ladies.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
179 reviews18 followers
February 6, 2017
I swear to God, Maya Angelou was one of the wisest and most elegant human beings that ever walked this earth. The poignancy and beauty of her words is almost overwhelming.

I feel better about things after reading this. It is the literary equivalent of bread pudding.
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