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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

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A phenomenal #1 bestseller that has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three years, this memoir traces Maya Angelou's childhood in a small, rural community during the 1930s. Filled with images and recollections that point to the dignity and courage of black men and women, Angelou paints a sometimes disquieting, but always affecting picture of the people—and the times—that touched her life.

Reviews (7)
Here's my review on one of the three books that I've read by Maya Angelou:

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings:
Smiling Through Sadness

Maya Angelou’s first memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, captures the sweetest, purest, and the most honest inner voice of a black child who grew up to be a heroine. Dr. Angelou does not censor anything; She wants us to know it all. It is so true, straightforward, and uncensored that many white parents have attempted to ban this book from schools. This memorable and mysterious autobiography - originally published in 1969 - was followed by another masterpiece entitled: Gather Together In My Name. Both books are available in audio format recorded by Random House Audio. It is amazing that we can hear Dr. Angelou reading her own books to us just like a grandmother putting us to sleep with her adventurous bed-time stories.
Dr. Maya Angelou, who has been honored and awarded numerous times, is a pure soul writing about the evil world of the racist America keeping a matching voice on each chapter of her life. When she is writing about her experiences as a five-year-old, you hear a five-year-old talking to you. Being one of the most recognized public figures and a civil rights movement’s heroine, Maya Angelou, gives us a poetic journey of how a poor disadvantaged black girl was rejected by everyone including her own mother, raped by her mother’s boyfriend, and had to witness his crippled uncle hiding under a pile of onions and potatoes to be protected from racist white beasts on a regular basis. The good news is that the story of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings does not end here. This bird sings her heart out until the cage breaks and she becomes our national treasure.
This powerful modern American classis has changed many readers’ (and listeners’) hearts and minds in a way that every great work of literature should. This book became the best-seller immediately after it was published. What added to my personal itch to read this book when I was first introduced to it was the fact that Dr. Angelou has described William Shakespeare as one of her strongest influence on her life and works. Shakespeare is my all-time favorite “pennist.”
Buy it, read it, keep it, reread it, highlight it, talk about it, advertise it, buy more of it and give it out as a gift, learn from it, and apply what you’ve learned from it in your daily life. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is coming from a heart and soul of someone who had to witness the unnecessary, harsh, and brutal insults that no ordinary human being can bear. Maya Angelou writes the story of a human who was pushed to her limits by the ugliness of this world and while being in a saddest cage, sang the happiest song. Once precious Maya Angelou told her younger generation that seem to be unable to cope with the racism in the past and present:
“You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.”
Maya Angelou is, of course, very famous, and the title of this book is known to most people. For years, with a few exceptions, I have been reading nonfiction. I have been intensely interested in a few subjects, which changed somewhat as I grew older, but rarely turned to fiction. It was no doubt because of an attempt to remedy my ignorance that I picked this up, as well as the fact that it was only two dollars on Book Bub. I now understand why Maya Angelou was such a giant figure in American literature. In rich, sometimes poetic language, she brings the reader into her world of social tensions and appreciation of her culture. She is able to demonstrate the degree of her strength and intelligence, and I came to a great appreciation of this major writer.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to read this book! I've heard about it for years, seen it referenced in other books and movies, yet I always avoided reading it myself. After coming across it again on the Amazon store, I decided to go ahead. Maybe I would get bored one day and skim it.
Oh my goodness.
As soon as I started reading it, I didn't stop. Starting at 7:00 pm., by the time the birds signaled dawn, I finished the last page with tears in my eyes.
Aside from the obviously touching story, Maya Angelou is a truly gifted writer. She was able to transform her writing as her character (herself) aged. She wrote from the mind of a child in the beginning, and by the end, she had a new maturity.
Beautiful. Worth all the accolades it's received thus far.
I wasn't excited about this book before reading it, but boy was I wrong! This book is actually fantastic! Angelou writes about such heavy issues (abandonment, sexual assault, racism, sexual confusion, etc.), and yet her writing is so crafty and crisp that the reader does not feel overwhelmed or put off. The writing is so fun and engaging. Angelou makes use of figurative language to paint vivid and delightful pictures of her childhood experiences. She does a great job of communicating so much in less than 300 pages. There are many little gems embedded on every page; this book is so rich with meaning and literary technique.

ISBN: 0553279378

Rating: 4.6/5

Votes: 241

Other Formats: doc lrf doc mobi

ISBN13: 978-0553279375

Publisher: Bantam; Mass Paperback Edition edition (May 1, 1983)

Language: English

Subcategory: Poetry

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Literature & Fiction
Author: Maya Angelou
Title: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings