Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Is it possible to be a fan of someone, if you haven’t even read anything by them, except poems here and there? That is the case with Maya Angelou and I. Having heard her speak much before having the chance to read any of her full length works, I totally fell in love with this tall, beautiful woman, whose voice can lull you into a hypnotic state of optimism. I first heard Maya Angelou speak on some talk show and then on Oprah. Later I read some of her poems are was positive that no matter what, I would like her. In early 2005 I got a chance to see her, in person, speak at Georgia State University. That sealed the deal. When I could not attend her speech at U of H, Rajith listened to my complaints and got me a copy of this book.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a simple read which spans a little more than ten years in Angelou’s life. It moves between Arkansas and California – as the children, Maya and her brother Bailey, take turns living with their grandmother and their parents. Poverty, racial inequality, educational struggles, and sexual trauma, all leave this strong woman unscathed as she describes her magical life to us. Sprinkeld with humor and touched by innocence, there is nothing in this book that will not affect you. It is a simple story, different from what you and I might have gone through, and yet, easy to identify with.

Now, it’s easier to say why I am a fan of Maya Angelou.

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4 Responses to Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

  1. Mrinal says:

    Is this book her biography (to some extent)? I liked the name of the book though.

  2. sampada says:

    Yup, I didn’t use that word, but it is. It only spans though from age 4 to 16. I really want to know what happened later. Her real name is Marguerite Johnson. But her brother used to call her “My,” which later changed to “Maya.” I wonder how the Angelou happened!! You must read the book if you get the chance, it’s beautiful..

  3. Neeta says:

    Oh, I am a Maya Angelou fan too. And I have also read just random bits of poetry and this one book, which I loved.

    In case you are interested in the rest of her life, she has chronicled them in 4 sequels after this one. Check on wiki

    Happy reading!

  4. sampada says:

    What is fascinating about this book is Angelou’s ability to make you laugh out loud. I had expected to be emotionally moved, but the laughter it induced was so pleasing. I love Angelou’s poetry too. I love to hear her speak.

    Thanks for the link.

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