I have heard the name Maya Angelou more than a few times through my friend on Facebook and on a predominantly black forum when she passed away. Curious, I bought this book misunderstanding it to be a collection of her poetry.
Instead, I found the very insightful memoirs of a black woman growing up in a very racist america, not even a century after slavery had been abolished. There is no even timeline, only a roughly chronological account of memorable periods in Angelou's life as a young black girl in predominantly black entourages. Many readers on here complain that the book is more racist than it is entertaining. While I don't believe the phrase "blacks can't be racist" as I do not believe it takes power dynamics for racism, it can be clearly understood why Angelou sounds extremely disdainful (and hence, in my opinion, racist) towards white people. White doctors refusing to treat blacks are just one example in this book of black people getting dearly little...
This book had been on my list for a long time, simply because I love Maya Angelou. I have to make a confession. Years ago, Ms. Angelou came to my school to speak. I feel so foolish and ignorant saying this but I didn't know who she was and I could not really connect or follow what she was saying so I walked out of the auditorium in the middle of her talk. It took me years to realize just what a grand opportunity I had walked out on, but as Maya herself says: when we know better, we do better. And now I've read and learned more about Maya's life from reading her wonderful memoirs. I was struck by the power of her memory - remembering the minute details of her life in the way that she described, and the stages of growing pains with all of her living conditions just in the first 16 years of her life. I must say that as much as I wanted to, and I really did, I didn't fall head over heels in love with her style of writing or rather, her writing voice. I was awe struck by some paragraphs,...
Oh, Maya...where to start? Words can't explain my sadness at the recent passing of this iconic poet/author, mother, teacher, etc. There is so much to be learned from her work and from her life's wild journey. Yet the world is a better place for having had her in it...she shared with us her wisdom, her wit, her strength, her humor, her dignity. Whenever I read her story I am truly moved and inspired. She came a long way from being a poor little Black girl in the South to becoming a national treasure. This woman endured so much pain...poverty, racism, low self-esteem, lack of stability, and a childhood rape that resulted in her becoming selectively mute for nearly six years. She had very few people in her life that she could truly depend on. What seems to have carried her through all of the horror was her brilliant mind, profound love of words even when she lost the ability to communicate, and the love of "Momma" the grandmother who raised her in rural Arkansas...
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