Our Shared Shelf discussion

Nov/Dec Mom & Me & Mom (2016) > Nov/Dec - Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou

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message 2: by Richa (new)

Richa Sharma (ric_743) | 9 comments I just read the first chapter. It's going to be really interesting.

message 3: by Michaela (new)

Michaela | 1 comments I just started the book tonight and I am already almost halfway through! I cannot wait to finish!

message 4: by Lauren (new)

Lauren This book has such a unique style. I've read about a third of it so far and was immediately captivated by the way it feels like a dialogue with the readers rather than a more one-sided memoir. I'm excited to finish it although I suspect I'll do so too quickly and be left wishing for more!

message 5: by Mara (new)

Mara Anderson | 1 comments Maya Angelou never disappoints me. I read it in a few hours and just fell in love with it. Her voice is so casual and endearing. It was like we were just sitting down having some coffee and she was telling me about her relationship with her mother. Mother/daughter relationships are complex, yet so significant. My favorite part was when Maya explained why she has such a grateful attitude. She reminded me that no matter what oppression or situation we go through, to always remember the little things and to embrace happiness in its smallest forms. I can see. I can hear. I can sing. I can write. I can read. That is what fills my heart with gratitude. Thanks for the reminder, Ms. Angelou!

message 6: by Marvie (new)

Marvie | 6 comments started reading it just now.

message 7: by Somar (new)

Somar | 1 comments nice book , thank you ..

message 8: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas Denmon (nicholas_denmon) | 5 comments I read it all last night. My thoughts are below and I believe I have avoided all spoilers.
What I love about this book the most is the universal appeal.

Though it is a very poignant piece on the mother/daughter bond and the struggles of a black American female are quite different, it is also applicable to the mother/son bond in many ways and we all know struggle in one way or another.

Having been separated from my mother at a young age, in her case due to mental illness, the bond despite (and in some cases because of) separation is an interesting dynamic. In my instance, my mother, though sick, was very loving all the way up until I was five years old and the state removed us. I was also sent to live with my paternal grandmother for a time while my father situated a place for me and my two (at the time) brothers. Five years of a mother's love were going to have to sustain us for nearly a decade.

The power of a mother's love, and the lessons she can teach through her own hardship and example, really do carry forward. A situation can either break you or make you, and I think much of that can be attributed to the maternal bond, as well as the way in which you choose to shape your own reality. Angelou captured this truth.

Now as an adult I can truly say that "love heals. Heals and liberates." My mother taught me that lesson in my youth, and her loving example carries me forward each and every day.

Mom & Me & Mom inspires self examination, empathy, and understanding - all of which are the bedrock for change.

Oh, and just a final cursory though, I have ended up, where Mom & Me & Mom began, in sunny Tampa, FL. I thought that was pretty cool, as I had no idea that was where her family began their American adventure.

message 9: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas Denmon (nicholas_denmon) | 5 comments Mara wrote: "Maya Angelou never disappoints me. I read it in a few hours and just fell in love with it. Her voice is so casual and endearing. It was like we were just sitting down having some coffee and she was..."

It was great to read your thoughts. I had a similar take away, about how we choose what we let into our hearts. Why not choose love?

message 10: by Leslie (new)

Leslie R I read this in one sitting last night, and admittedly it's the first book by Maya Angelou that I have read. I'm going to go pick up a few others today so that I have a comparison on her writing style, but I have to say that reading this first may not have been the best idea ... she seems to have already shared many of her personal stories in other books, and I'm so curious about her life that I see my personal productivity dropping dramatically until I can catch up! Definitely a good way to start with Our Shared Shelf.

message 11: by Kaitlin (new)

Kaitlin Nabors | 1 comments It's been a long time since a book has made me want to devour it in one sitting. I read the prologue as I was walking out of the library and was immediately captivated by it. I just finished it and am blown away by the life and grace of Maya Angelou. This was the first book of hers I have read, and it certainly won't be the last!

message 12: by Sheryl (new)

Sheryl (sherylreadsalot) | 2 comments On page 87. Bawling. It's so heartbreaking. And angering. And empowering. And good.

message 13: by Marvie (new)

Marvie | 6 comments nice book. still reading.

message 14: by Sammantha (new)

Sammantha (sammylouise) | 1 comments I'm reading it now. Not a very big book so might be able to finish today or tomorrow.

message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Johnson (Sej1969) | 3 comments I just joined and devoured the book in several hours! What a gem, thank you for sharing it with me....I was moved to throw the book when hitting pages 84 to 89! Physical reaction, emotional reaction....on and on.

message 16: by Robert (new)

Robert Smart | 354 comments I received the book last night and finished it this evening. I loved it! I love autobiographies/biographies. Reading about the lives of others seeing their strengths and weaknesses and how they overcome obstacles and adversities are inspiring to me. I have not read any of Angelou's other works but now that I am finished with this one, I think I will undertake reading the rest of them.

message 17: by Angela (new)

Angela Lopez | 2 comments Mom & Me & Mom seemed to me like a simplistic enumeration of life facts and events. Lyricism is missing; The (plain) writing style makes it difficult to connect with the characters although listening to the music mentioned in some of the chapters made it a more palatable read.
Did the writer choose this writing style because this is how she writes, or is it a means to describe the relationship she had with her mother? Despite a number of remarkable (cherrypicked?) memories, a stiff relationship that didn't really flow.

message 18: by Angela (new)

Angela Lopez | 2 comments ... that didn't really flow, I meant :o)

message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Johnson (Sej1969) | 3 comments I believe it was a difficult relationship and it didn't flow beautifully. There was a harshness to many of her experiences. She chose love and forgiveness

message 20: by Heather (new)

Heather Buchanan | 2 comments Mom and Me & Mom.

I finished this book in a few hours, it's an easy read but I wasn't completely taken with it. I felt it to be disconnected at times. I have read her earlier autobiographical writing which I loved and this overlapped a bit but I found it hard to warm to her mother while simultaneously admiring her. I will now go back to Angelou's earlier writing to see if her style has changed or I have. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed.

message 21: by Frank (new)

Frank Monterisi Jr (frank314) "That day, I learned to be a giver simply by bringing a smile to another person."

I love that quote

message 22: by Juliana (new)

Juliana Gómez consuegra I really enjoyed the book. I was expecting something completely different, because the goodreads summary of the book speaks of Maya Angelou's tormented relationship with her mother. Yes, it was a hard childhood, but she was able to convey her mother's love and support for the rest of her life. I think that though her mother was a hard woman, she gave Maya the resilient spirit to overcome all her hardships.

message 23: by Daisy (new)

Daisy Hi there. I'm actually listening to this book (audiobook) and Maya Angelou actually narrates it herself (it's a little monotone). I'd never read a book by her and I'm a pretty "new" reader; for entertainments sake that is. I'm excited to find a platform where I can read what others think about a book and also share what I think. I am enjoying this book and am super intrigued with her mom, Vivian Baxter. Sometimes I keep thinking, oh geez another bad thing happening to her?!?! But then it happens and she bounces right back.

message 24: by Gintonic (new)

Gintonic | 1 comments Hey everyone, I'm new here and i basically just joined Goodreads just to join this book club! I'm starting to read mom & me & mom, and I really love it, especially from an innocent perspective of a little girl. Can't wait to finish the rest of the book!


message 25: by Angelica (new)

Angelica Lichtner (yuuha87) | 3 comments Okay I read this book and it is not a bad read but I had a hard to to connect with what was going on. It do have some good life lessons but overall it was not as good as I hoped. It felt like small bits and pieces instead of a story you can take with you and grow from. Also it felt like so much was left out so I felt like I became disconnected after a while.

message 26: by Amber (new)

Amber Mccauley | 2 comments I finished the book last night. I read 'I know why the caged bird sings' in school, and let me admit that was quite a few years ago! I can't say why I've never been inspired to pick up another of her books until now, but I was glad to read this one. I enjoyed it. The overall style is pleasant and nicely paced. The voice that comes through the narrative is calm and matter of fact but the topics covered are inspirational. I am a first time mother to a little girl, and that is the perspective from which I read 'Mom & Me & Mom'. Reading it was comforting, like holding a warm cup of tea on a cold day, and what I took away from it is that it doesn't take a perfect human being to be a wonderful mother. I'll certainly be trying more of her books now.

message 27: by Aevalle (new)

Aevalle Galicia I finished the book last night. While I enjoyed it and found such strong women in the face of obstacles inspiring, I also found the writing a bit disconnected. But then I wonder if that isn't somewhat the point, since it's being told by a woman who felt abandoned by her mother yet was able to compartmentalize those emotions to rebuild a lasting relationship with her.

At this point, if I were to write a memoir about my mother and myself, I don't think I could put the emotions aside to simply tell the story. In a way, it's quite a gift and talent.

message 28: by Susanne (new)

Susanne (susanne1988) Finished it last night, after a couple hours of reading. I liked it, but didn't love it. The story was really inspiring and got you thinking, but I still feel like I miss something. I can relate to some of the things said before. Maybe when I read her other work, I will find the thing that is missing. I would have also loved it when she would have used dates in the book, sometimes I was like where are we in her live did we skip a day or a month. She wrote it in a very brief form, what makes it harder to connect. I was very supprised when at the end you read about the drugs story of bailey.

message 29: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine (lorrainedoyle) | 4 comments I gulped this whole book up in one sitting. And now I want to hug my mother.

I love how the first half of the book really focuses on mending a frayed relationship between an innocent child and her mother, before focusing on a grown woman ultimately caring for her elderly mother.

There were some elements to the book that were left slightly untied. For example, I wish I'd known what had happened to all of Vivian's previous husbands and the need to skip through the years so quickly. But other than that, I found this to be a very enjoyable, and ultimately emotional, read.

message 30: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jenmcmillin) I agree - I loved the style and story in this book. It was my first from Maya Angelou, and I have a feeling I'll be reading more!

message 31: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Watts | 21 comments I enjoyed it a lot - it did sometimes feel to brief and left me wanting to know more, but I guess that's why I should read the rest of her books!

Not having read any of her other books yet, I was surprised and moved by how close Maya and her mother became in spite of being apart for most of her childhood. Maya's ability to see past that and see her mum for the wonderful woman that she was is quite inspiring.

message 32: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Ashley | 5 comments Just finished reading the book. I really enjoyed it. To say Ms. Angelou is a beautiful writer is a gross understatement; as I read the novel I could hear her voice in the words I was reading. Reading this novel made me begin to mourn Ms. Angelou all over again. What a beautiful person she was. I so admire her resiliency, her refusal in giving up on herself, her fight to maintain her spirituality and identity as a dancer despite Tosh trying to prevent her from the doing so. Most of all, I find her grace and forgiveness toward her mother so astounding. Of course, for anyone who has experienced abandonment from a parent/guardian, forgiveness may not be an option, and that's okay. I think that Ms. Angelou did a remarkable job in not only writing this tribute to her mother, but introducing us to Vivian holistically; she was bright, fiesty, loving and nurturing, but was flawed as well. There's an acknowledgement, acceptance, and forgiveness of those flaws.

message 33: by Aevalle (new)

Aevalle Galicia Just came across this in my inbox. I think it's exactly what I needed to hear today, from Maya herself. I have to admit, I teared up near the end.


(Apologies for the ad at the beginning...)

message 34: by Jordan (new)

Jordan L | 2 comments I strongly believe siblings of different genders should have the liberty to rectify each other when one felt that the other had made a mistake,both should have entitlements to shape each others characters.

message 35: by Keyana (new)

Keyana | 4 comments Just finished reading this. Maya Angelou has always been a favorite poet of mine but I never really knew much about her personal life. She was an amazing women but then so was Vivian Baxter. I was rooting for Maya to open up to her mother and was so relieved when slowly but surely they began connecting. From personal experience I know what it is like to not have a mother there and to lack affection from those that raised you but she did not let that deter her from opening her heart to others and eventually her mother. Ms. Angelou is the very embodiment of her mother, they're strong and independent and never let others constrain them.

message 36: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Blackstone (rngrad_2006) | 4 comments I read the book in just a couple of days. I really enjoyed learning about Maya's life. Her mother is like my mother in a lot of ways. The line where her mother says "say the word and I'm
There". My mother would make herself broke to help me, inconvenience herself 1000 times to be by my side. She's my hero and has helped me more than she knows. This book made me appreciate my own mother even more. I would love to read more of Mrs Angelou's work

message 37: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas Denmon (nicholas_denmon) | 5 comments Deborah wrote: "I read the book in just a couple of days. I really enjoyed learning about Maya's life. Her mother is like my mother in a lot of ways. The line where her mother says "say the word and I'm
There". My..."

I really think it is this universal appeal of a mother's love that really transcends traditional demarcations.

message 38: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas Denmon (nicholas_denmon) | 5 comments Nicole wrote: "Just finished reading the book. I really enjoyed it. To say Ms. Angelou is a beautiful writer is a gross understatement; as I read the novel I could hear her voice in the words I was reading. Readi..."

I am often curious about how my adopted brother feels about that. From his point of view, our shared father is his only father - but I wonder if he has ever been curious about it all.

message 39: by Alyson (new)

Alyson Stone (alysonserenastone) | 149 comments I've just started reading it, but I feel like I've read it before. Has this been out for awhile?

message 40: by Nikki (new)

Nikki | 1 comments I wonder how Maya Angelou was able to portray this mother/daughter relationship which, I imagine, was fraught with emotion, with such clarity and clearness. At least for me, the book wasn't heavy with explicitly stated emotion, but the love, anxiety, and support came through so clearly in the text through the anecdotes Angelou told. Thoughts?

message 41: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Nikki wrote: "I wonder how Maya Angelou was able to portray this mother/daughter relationship which, I imagine, was fraught with emotion, with such clarity and clearness. At least for me, the book wasn't heavy w..."

Do you wanna make a thread about it?
Sounds worth writing more about it than just a few lines.

message 42: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Aevalle wrote: "Just came across this in my inbox. I think it's exactly what I needed to hear today, from Maya herself. I have to admit, I teared up near the end.


This is exactly what I needed right now:) Thanks for sharing. Ah, Maya Angelou was a charismatic leader in her way. I can't wait to read more from her!

message 43: by Noemi (new)

Noemi Proietti | 3 comments I just finished reading it and I really liked it. It's inspiring and honest but I was a little surprised how Maya Angelou talks about the bad things that happened to her, in a matter-of-fact way, like it's an ordinary experience that happen to every one.

message 44: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Noemi, maybe she dissociated from the bad things that happened to her. As far as I understand it, then it feels like it happened to someone else, not to oneself.

Just a theory that would explain it, in my opinion.

message 45: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments This book is so touching.

message 46: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments It is. And so intersectional:)
And... I really wasn't into autobiographies (or biographies in general) before OSS, but it definitely changed.

message 47: by Irina (new)

Irina (irisha8787) | 1 comments As some people mentioned above, i am too surprised abut how the relationship changed between them. A lot of kids hold abandonment against their parents and detach themselves. I think having a kid while young was partially the reason of the switch, who knew what would have happened otherwise.

Another thing that i was surprised about is how she left her brother in that drug house. What if he would have died in there? I don't know what i would have done, but probably begging to come with me, crying, etc.. which probably wouldn't have helped. But she was just "oh well, i guess i am leaving".

message 48: by Amber (new)

Amber (thebusybooknerd) I just finished this last night and really enjoyed it. I'm at such a loss of words right now on how this affected me and made me think that I will just leave it at that :)

message 49: by Alyson (new)

Alyson Stone (alysonserenastone) | 149 comments Book: Mom & Me & Mom
Author: Maya Angelou
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

Another Our Shared Shelf reading and probably the last one of 2016.

I was first exposed to Maya Angelou's work through, like so many others I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We read this clear back in my Honours English class in high school. What I remember about it was that it really was not all that painful of a read. Whenever Emma called Mom & Me & Mom one of her favourite books, I had pretty high expectations. While it did not disappoint, it just was not five star quality for me. At first, I thought it was going to be my first Our Shared Shelf reading five star, but it didn't happen.

Maya is such an engaging writer and I was pulled in right from the first words. Her writing is really simple, but it just has this factor to it that makes it really hard to pull away from her. She is able to bring you into her world in a way that can only be described as effortless. I just love her words and how she creates her world. I have read a lot of memoirs this year and I must say that Maya's book stands out as probably the best so far.

The relationship between mother and daughter is quite a difficult one in this book. Maya and her brother, Bailey, are sent to live with their grandmother. Their parents are divorced and neither parent can raise the two children. While their grandmother does care for them, she really can't replace the mother that they both long for. So, when their mother sends for them, it makes it even that much more complicated. Maya and Bailey are almost afraid to let her in. They fear that she will leave them again. This theme appears again and again in the book. Bailey is never fully able to forgive their mother and falls into what can only be described as a dark life.

As the book goes on, we see how Maya's relationship with her mother changes. We see that Maya seeks out the advice of her mother and longs to have her by her side. They still have their rough spots, but their relationship almost seems like it comes out of a fairytale. While I am glad everything worked out between them, I do feel like a of the drama was played down a bit.

Okay, I guess, I can live with the drama being played down. Like I said, I have read a lot of memoirs this year. I guess my biggest issue with memoir is that the person writing them always tries to make themselves come across as the most important person in the world. We really don't get that here or at least, I didn't pick up on it. I don't know about anything else?

So, why four stars? Well, the pacing was a little strange. It would jump months and years at a time. This may not sound like a major problem, but in a book that is less than two hundred pages, it just doesn't flow well.

message 50: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Christopher wrote: "I've been thinking about this book a lot over the past day. I'm really sorry if my previous comment put a downer on the thread. I've read through all the other comments now and I feel that I was so..."

I don't think it was a downer from your side. I also had problems with the book because of the sad theme, but it's worth reading nonetheless. Or should I better say because of it?

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