Bev's Reviews > I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
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's review
Mar 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: autobiography
Read in August, 2010

"The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance."

That quote sums up the entire experience of reading Maya Angelou's honest, heart-breaking, and wonderfully written story of growing up black in the 30s and 40s. That she can make her story so real to someone who grew up white, middle-class and with a stable family life, is an amazing feat. She uses lyric language as well as witty satire to bring home to the reader exactly what her life was like. She deftly portrays the courage, dignity and endurance needed to survive a childhood filled with suffering, prejudice, and inequality.

After being shipped back and forth between parents she never really knew and a grandmother who served as mother for most of her growing up years; after many experiences that drove home to Maya the differences between her life and that of "whitefolks"; after several emotionally and sexually disturbing incidents--it is amazing what this woman has become. Honored poet and author, playwright, award-recipient and holder of many honorary degrees--Maya Angelou and all the strong women like her truly do deserve our respect.

I am glad that my Birth Year Reading Challenge brought this book into my list of books read. Its raw emotion and sensitivity made it a difficult read, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Four and a half stars out of five.

This review was first posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks.
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09/03/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Andrea That was my favorite quote from the book as well. M.A. is a phenomenal writer.


message 2: by Bev (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bev Andrea wrote: "That was my favorite quote from the book as well. M.A. is a phenomenal writer."

Yes, she is. I plan on reading her book The Heart of a Woman this year.


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