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My Journey with Maya

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  294 ratings  ·  52 reviews
A remarkable story of friendship, love, and courage

When Maya Angelou and Tavis Smiley met in 1986, he was twenty-one and she was fifty-eight. For the next twenty-eight years, they shared an unlikely, special bond. Angelou was a teacher and a maternal figure to Smiley, and they talked often, of art, politics, history, race, religion, music, love, purpose, and--more than any
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  294 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Winter Sophia Rose
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Heartwarming, Sweet, Poetic Eye Opener! A Beautiful Read! I Absolutely Loved It!
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fangirls & fanboys of Smiley/Angelou
I'm a bit flummoxed about how to review Tavis Smiley's My Journey with Maya. I requested a review copy because I am a big fan of both the author and his subject, Maya Angelou, so I had high hopes it would be an entertaining and informative read. I guess what I can say is that it was entertaining, and at times it was informative, but it still somehow didn't meet my expectations. Something I'm not sure how to articulate is missing.

I think it may have something to do with métier; despite the fact t
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A student flattering her and spoke of her like a literary goddess. Her response:
“Please child I am many things, but a deity I am not, we all contain elements of the divine, but I can tell you, that I am definitely of this earth. So if you are seeing me as a saintly, you are not seeing me at all.”
The student was taken a back, then Angelou added, “I don’t want to sound harsh my dear, when I see young people go along with the cult of personality. All that does is distant you from the person you ad
Lynn Dixon
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This first- person narrative account of the years that Tavis Smiley spent in the company of Dr. Maya Angelou is a real eye opener. I did not know that he had access to her in such a personal way through a friendship that lasted over 20 years. She took him under her wing and it helps explains his success as one of the best interviewers I have seen. Tavis, whom I admire, lets his guests speak what is in their hearts with little interruption yet through skillful guidance. All of those precious mome ...more
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a nice read. Tavis Smiley began a friendship with Maya Angelou almost 30 years ago.this book is devoted to her. he shares with the readers about this friendship, their traveling through parts of Africa. the many conversations he had with her. He considered himself lucky to have known this brilliant woman.She was there to offer advice to him over the years. He attended her lectures. and shares with the readers all he has learned from Dr.Maya Angelou. a very nice devotion to a woman who h ...more
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have had the good fortune to be able to rate most completed books with 5 stars. This one? Should have Six. It is a simple and complex book. The subject and the Authors words can be heard with crystal clear tones. The chicken/egg like theme of their Love/Courage challenge is an interesting and thought-filled debate. Though I have not read "I know why..", I have been inspired to do so with courage and love. I love the underlying giggle between them both. True art. Thank you Dr and Thank you Tavi ...more
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
His story and his expression of love and friendship is wonderful. Maya was a great woman in so many ways, and to see a glimpse in to the wonderful person she was around others (not just from her beautiful and impactful writing) is very interesting to me. Makes the legend more human and more lovable. Quick and enjoyable read.
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir. As a young man, Travis Smiley traveled to Ghana with Maya Angelo as her assistant, and over the years he developed a mentor/mentee relationship with her. His love and admiration for her are inspirational, and he introduces the reader to a wise, caring and humble person. I really loved the parts where they would be discussing a serious issue, and songs and poems would flow out of her.

I loved the way he closed his book with a letter that he wrote to her after her death which inc
Nicole Edwards
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend the audible version of this book. I devoured it. It was inspiring and covered so many issues about life and living and love. Two beautiful minds commiserating for decades over politics poetry people and life lessons. What a wonderful blessing they were to each other. What an inspiration that when life gives you lemons you can make lemonade.
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A thoughtfully written book by a young many who becomes an assistant to Maya at just age 21. He tells the story of how he accompanied her to Africa as a bag a handler and how they became life long friends. Although simply written the book gives good insight into the life of Maya Angelou on a personal level.
Smiley does a great job of painting a well-rounded picture of Maya Angelou. The more I learn about her, the more I am amazed. While, there are some issues that I might not have agreed with her on, her wisdom is astounding.
Sharon Gawer chapman
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For Maya lovers a fascinating story of what it was like to know her. As a person who wished I had known her like this, I can pretend her words were for me. She is as I had imagined. Lots of richness in her lessons.
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written book. I see myself coming back to it many times in the future.
Christine (Queen of Books)
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
"I can well understand why it is difficult for you to see Dr. King as a mere man. But I can assure you that he was. Like Malcolm X or Medgar Evers or Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin was an ordinary human being who lived in extraordinary times and was able to do extraordinary things. It's the ordinariness of these people that allows us to connect to them. We can relax in our ordinariness and enjoy the humility that ordinariness brings. Only then can we really feel their presence. Rather than be intimida ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite journalist, writer, and media reporter gets an opportunity to meet the infamous poet and author, Maya Angelou. From there, Travis Smiley's interview with Mother Maya blossoms into a mentor/mentee relationship throughout his career as well as a genuine friendship. It's one of those must read American history lessons filled with lots of wisdom and insights of Maya's travels as she shared her craft with the world. A poignant read for me and a 5 ***** book, for sure. ...more
Maureen M
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: race, memoir
This memoir helps fill in a lot of the blanks between Maya Angelou's first and last memoir and illustrates how she had such a personal impact on so many lives. A regular person could sense her tremendous grace and power from her appearances on Oprah and elsewhere. But this shows how that grace and power worked on the people close to her, calling them to be their better selves. Tavis Smiley comes into Angelou's orbit almost accidentally, as a gopher for her trip to Ghana in the '90s. He starts ou ...more
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
In the words of the late great Maya Angelou "It takes courage to love." Did Tavis Smiley find the courage to love after Maya Angelou passed away? That's unknown. It was quite an incredible journey he experienced with her and on his own. A truly remarkable woman's body has passed away but her spirit and her voice keeps rising up. Even in death will she keeping having children and they too shall rise and carry on her with her unyielding inspiration both in literature, art, dance, journalism, count ...more
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-books
Tavis was a young man when he met Maya Angelou. They became good friends. As Tavis matured, Maya helped him along with the wisdom that is only hers. Her kind, but straight-forward way of teaching him some of the finer points of life shaped him into who he is as an adult. Some of the lessons were ones I was grateful to hear. It was interesting to hear how Maya explained some of the events she lived through to a member of the next generation, a generation which is shaped by hers.
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, but then, I love anything that involves Maya Angelou. She befriended Tavis Smiley when he was just getting started in his career. Their friendship grew over the years and this book shared several of the occasions when they spent time together. They challenged each other in conversation and obviously, had great respect and love for each other. Reading this is like being a fly on the wall when two people are having a serious conversation. What a joy!
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely beautiful book! Tavis Smiley was so blessed to be apart of Maya Angelou's life. She was a truly wonderful and inspiring woman. I almost felt that I was apart of her life too. I'm so glad that my mother admired Maya and that I have come to admire her to. I has been inspired to read more about her and to try and read some of her books. ...more
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was my first introduction to maya, and what a intro it was. Like all good story tellers the author made me think of the people who have been Maya's to me. Yet he also made me curious for the rest of this story. He made me want to know the woman who I came to live by reading his love between the lines ...more
Mujahid Aziz
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was more like three started off really slow later had some old mother church type of feel thats probably require every now & then a great down to earth mother to son perspective with every paraphrase or two a deep thinking concept from Tavis...Overall book was straight on to the next book...PS Travis Smiley enjoy the show. Interviewing style has more intellectual sophistication.
Apr 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A marvelous read and visit back through the life of Maya through the eyes of Tavis Smiley. Just more proof of the powerful friend she could be and her relationships with powerful people throughout the world. Also a great coming of age story for Tavis.
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audio version -- Very interesting, well told story of Tavis Smiley's unexpected meeting and many years of friendship with the remarkable Maya Angelou -- her amazing qualities shine through during page after page of listening. ...more
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
5-stars, but not entirely due to Tavis Smiley. His writing is fab, the pacing is great. The subject matter makes me want to purchase this book so I can highlight the many gems of wisdom dropping from the lips of Maya Angelou!
Connie Kronlokken
I particularly enjoyed Smiley's discussion with Maya Angelou about "voice," finding his own and Maya's insistence that finding your voice and going against the grain of your friends' speech takes courage. ...more
Karen Gallant
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it
At times I found the writing style/approach a bit contrived. However this did not take away my enjoyment from reading this book and learning more about the wonderful Maya her unique Philosophy and approach regarding life and how seek enjoyment out of every day and every human interaction.
Alissa Peanasky
Aug 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It was a good book. I always like to see an insider's perspective on people I admire. While it was a quick read, I didn't feel like I left with any new knowledge. I'm glad I read it, but I don't need to read it again. ...more
Deborah J.
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I already know it's going to be good! ...more
Mar 08, 2015 marked it as to-read
I have just won a copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways. After it's arrived on my doorstep and I've had a chance to read it and formulate my thoughts, I'll post an honest review. Stay tuned! ...more
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Tavis Smiley is a talk show host, author, political commentator, entrepreneur, advocate and philanthropist. Smiley grew up in Kokomo, Indiana. After attending Indiana University, he worked during the late 1980s as an aide to Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles. Smiley became a radio commentator in 1991, and starting in 1996 he hosted the talk show BET Talk (later renamed BET Tonight) on BET. Con ...more

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