Phenomenal Woman has always been one of my favorite poems by Maya Angelou. I first heard the poem when it was recited by Janet Jackson in a 90s movie also featuring, Tupac; Poetic Justice. I fell in love with the words. However, I only got to read my first book by Maya after her death.
I know why the Caged Bird Sings is one of the books in Maya Angelou’s autobiography series. The autobiography tells of a heartbreaking story of Maya and her brother, Bailey who were sent away from home by their parents at an early age. The children traveled alone with tags tied to their wrists written ‘To whom it may concern’. They moved in with their grandma at Swamps in Arkansas. Life in Arkansas was full of ups and downs. There was a lot of tension from the racism engulfing the town at the time.
Maya was so open in the autobiography. She spoke of the darkest moments in her life with the ease of someone who has experienced but survived tragedy. I know why the Caged Bird Sings is quite an inspirational book. As a reader, I got to experience Maya’s growth and triumph against the hardships of her life. Despite the many challenges, she met a number of people who had a great impact on her life and who helped in shaping her into the confident woman that she was. Maya achieved a lot in her life. For instance; I loved her determination of becoming the first black street car conductor in San Francisco.
There are a lot of things that I liked about Maya’s story. The first one was overcoming the darkness in her childhood. I also liked her determination in life despite the obstacles. Some of the chapters were quite hilarious like how she drove a car from Mexico to the US border with no prior driving experience or training. She sure was a confident woman.
Maya explained that it was very hard for her to write the book. I read an interview where she wrote about staying drunk through the afternoons and crying through the nights as she wrote the book. I am glad that she shared her memoir though. I am sure that a lot of readers who have gone through different issues such as child abuse, abandonment and discrimination have found inspiration in the pages of this book. I know why the Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou is definitely one of my favorite memoirs.
The ending of the book was a cliffhanger. I thought Maya’s tribulations had ended but then something else came up. I look forward to reading the next book in the autobiography series, Gather Together in my Name.