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Gather Together in My Name

(Maya Angelou's Autobiography #2)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  13,512 ratings  ·  556 reviews
In this sequel to 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings', Maya Angelou describes her life as an unemployed young mother in California, turning to prostitution and the world of narcotics.

Maya Angelou's volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a black woman she has known d
Paperback, 221 pages
Published 2010 by Virago (first published 1974)
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Rebecca Wanjiku Much of it is set in California with only a short stint in Arkansas.

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 ·  13,512 ratings  ·  556 reviews

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Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second volume of Maya Angelou’s autobiography and covers four years from 1944 to 1948, ending when Angelou was 21. It covers a period pre civil rights and just after the war. Angelou was remarkably resourceful in relation to the things she turned her hand to and did well. She cooked and waitressed in a number of establishments, managed a restaurant, sold clothes, learned to dance to become a professional dancer, ran a brothel, worked in a brothel ( her “pimp” or “daddy” was an Episco ...more
Deacon Tom F
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This was an absolutely wonderful book. Maya Angelou is on my Top Three author list (and climbing). I met Maya's work on New Years Eve of 1978. My wife had to work (a nursing thing). I was being crabby and a dear friend gave me a copy of "A Caged Bird.." and I was up all night.

It is breathtaking how she shares from the depths of her being. This book shares so much pain that I see her as a brave as any author. There's a thesaurus full of descriptios and feelings. (Don't tell the tough guys but sh
”For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
--Matthew 18:20

This is a continuation of Maya Angelou’s autobiography, the first volume of which is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I read that last year, and was once again cast under the spell of her writing reading this second volume.

As this begins, it is shortly after the end of WW II, and Maya has her infant son, she is only sixteen years old, and must find a way to create a life for the two of them
Ellyn Oaksmith
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the darkest in Maya Angelou's anthology and one I hadn't read before so I was shocked when she came to the brink of prostitution and actually jumped. So many times in the book, particularly when she's nearly enlisted in the Army, I thought "I didn't know she was a soldier," and then found out what happened. So when it came to her sleazy older boyfriend, saying he needed some "help" crawling out of a financial mess, I thought she would somehow wake up from the nightmare. Even when she was ...more
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing

My goodness, I adore this phenomenal woman! These autobiographies by Maya Angelou are the best definition of a page-turner in my book. Gather Together in My Name is volume no. 2 of the series and I enjoyed every bit of it. Maya Angelou's prose game is ah-mazing and I believe it's the poet in her that forces such a beautiful choice of words. Aside from the beautiful language, she has this easy charming approach which keeps you hooked and hungry for more. This attractive formula always works for m
Angi Hurst
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sequel to Maya Angelou's autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," this book begins when Marguerite is in her late teens. Her beautifully-written prose describes the heartwrenching mistakes that she makes in her life decisions, as a result of her risk-taking and daring personality.

My scale (since the speed of my reading is directly proportional to how well I like the book):

1 - couldn't get through it
2 - actually got through it but it took months
3 - read it fairly consistently on the tra
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this woman with all my heart. Her writing style, her way of crafting a story, her life..
This volume was a bit sadder than the previous ones, but what a great read.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I enjoyed this more than Angelou's first memoir, which won't be a surprise to anyone who knows my tastes, because in this book she's a teenager/young adult while in the first she was a child. Adults make for active protagonists, while children are passive. So I enjoyed the content more and therefore appreciated the writing more. It's a short, quick read and kept me engaged, though, as in the first book, events sometimes seem disconnected from each other, and Angelou's tone can be so wry and deta ...more
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I usually struggle with memoirs but this was a read that will stick around in my head for a long time.
Ellie M
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read I know why the caged bird sings a long while ago, and Maya Angelou told her remarkable life story. This follows on and it's equally well written.

In this book she's a teen mum living initially in SFO. She finds work as a cook, falls in love and it doesn't work out, and heads for LA before a diversion to San Diego and Oklahoma. She takes short term jobs cooking and waitressing to help her raise her son. Somewhere in this story she, at 18, runs a brothel.

The blurb tells you she dabbles in d
F.E. Jr.
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Angelou has a way of beating you up that makes you thankful for getting that ass whupped.

Gather together in my name - the religious overtones guide the reader into a false sense of security before the late, great Dr. Angelou drops an anvil on your head. This brief little glimpse into the life of a very young woman between the ages of seventeen and twenty - this twinkle of an eye- to keep up with the religious tone - is hell on earth for this young woman.

A cook, a chef, a pimp, and a prosti
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
As with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I couldn't put this one down once I started reading. This autobiography picks up where I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings ends, with with 17-year-old Maya out of work and caring for her son Guy in San Francisco. In the two or three years covered by this book, she moves several times, even once back to Stamps, Alabama, and holds an amazing number and variety of jobs. She also learns some hard lessons about life and about herself. What a lot of courage and det ...more
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition I guess fiction really can't touch real life.

Picking up where I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings left off, this heart-wrenching memoir chronicles Maya Angelou's late teen years as an unwed mother, pimp, and prostitute desperately searching for love.

Her poetic yet blunt retelling of the events created a slight disconnect for me between the writer and the young girl she writes about. I sometimes had a hard time picturing this sophisticated/assured and generous woman as the selfish and feckl
April Cote
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, favorites, fiction
I absolutely love Maya Angelou. Even when she is talking about all the wrong she has done, she shines brighter in my eyes. Because she pushed through those bad times, she fought to do better, be better, and of course, we all know she achieved the better. Everyone should read Maya Angelou, her poetic words of wisdom know how to pierce into your heart and stay with you forever.
May 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A humbling, horrifying, addictive, beautifully written second part to her autobiography. What an amazing life, what an amazing woman: in part about every woman and our shared struggles through early adulthood and yet utterly personal and unique.

This volume charts Maya's life as a mother in her late teens, brutal in its honesty and miraculous in its lack of vitriolic self-judgement. Instead of self-flagellation, Maya Angelou's writing is redemptive and pitiless. Maya takes us on the next stage o
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well its no I Know why the caged bird sings, but it is just as brutally honest n lucid. Definitely worth a read!

"It's interesting that they didn't realize in those yearning days past, nor even in the present days of understanding, that if the female had the right to decide, she suffered from her inability to instigate. That is, she could only say yes or no if she was asked."
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was good, though I enjoyed the latter part a little less. How can she be so smart and world wise on the one hand and so naive and dumb at the same time. I wanted to shake her. I found it a bit frustrating at times.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Be the best of anything you get into. If you want to be a whore, it's your life. Be a damn good one. Don't chippy at anything. Anything worth having is worth working for.'

This is the second part of Angelou’s autobiography and covers her life between the ages of seventeen and twenty. It continues on from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings left off with Angelou giving birth of her son and leaving her grandmother in rural Arkansas to live in San Francisco. The reader learns of her attempts to establi
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Wow. I've somehow read these Angelou memoirs out of order (I don't think I realized for a long time that she even had more than the first one, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.) I wasn't prepared for how dark this one would be after reading some of the later ones. Angelou lived a hundred different lives, it seems. One would never suspect that the dignified poet who read at Clinton's inauguration had once been a prostitute. This memoir chronicles her late teenage years as she lives in San Francisc ...more
Her life was WILD. Her writing was still beautiful. I didn't love it as much as the first one, something about it just didn't hit me as hard, but I still very much enjoyed it. ...more
Phoenix Robles
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being that Dr. Angelou is my favorite writer/poet/inspirational speaker since the age of 10, and the fact that I have had the pleasure of personally meeting and being uplifted by her words, I tend to be biased in my opinion compared to others when it comes to her work. I absolutely adored and appreciate the fact that she yet again chose to share such a raw and vivid story of struggle, bad choices, and circumstance with her readers.
Yes it started off slow in the beginning, but yet again she held
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This book is well written. Maya is an exceptional writer. As a teen, she was very brave and determined to succeed against all odds.

I like the fact that she wasn't prone to pity parties and grabbed life with both hands.

I love that she was her own greatest supporter.

Most of all, I love that her determination to be great at whatever she was doing was rock solid.

I am definitely reading more of her.
Ying Ying
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Maya's life has so many twists and turns that it reads as if it were a piece of fiction. Stories of pimps, whorehouses, and the underworld. While she has lived through all these dangers, we can now have a glimpse of them all within the safety of a book. To have lived through so many life shocks as a young mother undoubtedly demanded incredible courage. Maya is, as Obama said, a truly phenomenal woman. ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The second volume of Angelou's autobiography is as resourceful and remarkable as Angelou herself. She almost joined the army. She ran a brothel, she worked in a brothel. She cooked (to earn). She took up learning to dance professionally. She almost lost her child. At certain points, I thought she was going to run away and make amends for all that I thought was not worthy enough to hold on to, but, by Jove, what was I thinking? Her unflinching directness subdued everything. ...more
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Huda Mitha
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just love Maya Angelou!!!!! The writing is so easy to follow and it doesn’t even read like a boring autobiography. God bless her soul.
Chaitanya Sethi
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in the series of Maya Angelou's autobiographies. It covers the period of four years following her son's birth.

Maya talks about having to mature as a mother to raise her son. Moving across cities, taking up multiple jobs, quitting, getting fired, being manipulated, and continuing to rise through it all. It speaks volumes about the difficulties of living in those times. Maya has always had the gift of writing and she is able to make even mundane parts and days of her life
Chrissie Webb
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"I had given a promise and found my innocence. I swore I'd never lose it again."

Maya Angelou is such an amazing writer and an even more phenomenal woman.

This second installment of her autobiography feels far darker than the first to the point where I honestly felt sick reading about her time in Stockton.

Her innocence which features throughout 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' (despite the horrors faced during her childhood) is heart-breakingly absent throughout this volume. However despite every
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you haven't read any Maya Angelou, what are you doing with yourself and I feel a little sorry for you. Not a wasted word or moment, and so exquisite I know I will want to revisit to deepen my understanding of the gift that is her writing.

If this sounds too effusive 🤷‍♀️ - just read one of her books. Although I read these first three out of order, I look forward to continuing with the next two.

Oprah, why haven't you made Maya's life into a miniseries? I would love to watch it, and would love
What to say? Maya Angelou is one of the most wonderful and inspiring persons alive on this earth today. Knowing her background only makes me love her, and myself interestingly enough, more. We should all inspire to be like her.
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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)
  • Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas (Maya Angelou's Autobiography, #3)
  • 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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