Monday, October 10, 2016

Recently Read: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Author: Maya Angelou
Genre: Classic/Memoir
Publication Date: 1969
Page Count: 264
Rating: 5/5

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Maya Angelou is a much loved author, poet, and inspirational speaker. I Know Why the Caged Birds Sings is the first in a series of autobiographical novels written by Angelou. This novel covers her childhood in Stamps Alabama and her teenage years in California. 

I LOVED this book. Loved it. I laughed, I cried, I smiled, and I was awed by the beauty of Angelou's words and the honesty with which she described her experiences as a young  black girl and woman. I listened to this on audiobook read by Maya Angelou herself and I highly recommend that experience. Angelou is an amazing speaker and her voice is so strong; I loved hearing her read her own life story. Her voice is so warm and comforting and she brings an undeniable power to her own story. 

As you may know, I am currently attending college to become a high school English teacher and I am itching to find a way to use this in my classroom. This book does such a beautiful job of exploring such difficult and necessary themes and topics such as rape, racism, feminism, coming of age, and family relationships. Angelou writes with such grace and humor it feels as if she is telling her story to you personally. Her life was not easy, yet she has maintained such grace, humor, and strength.  

This book is full of so many strong women. I loved hearing about all of the women in Angelou's life and her relationship with them, and I really hope to find out more about the women and their relationships in future novels. I also loved how Angelou weaved her literary life into this novel. It's clear that the books she read as a young girl were important to who she grew up to be, which I'm sure many book lovers can relate to. Many scenes in this book were so powerful, I know they will stick with me for a long time. 

I loved the way she described the relationship between her and her brother Bailey. I have a brother myself and also find strong brother-sister connections in literature make me a little emotional. The way that Angelou describes her love for and confidence in her brother was so sweet and beautifully written. I know this is a book that I will reread many times within my life. I am on the wait list for the next book in Angelou's memoir series and can't wait to learn more about her and read more of her beautiful writing.  

In light of the crazy and disheartening events that are going on in our world right now (I'm currently watching the debate) I can't help but wonder how much of a kinder place the world would be if we all spent some time hearing the stories of those that differ from us. I highly recommend reading Maya Angelou's story. 

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