Genres/Lists: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Read synopsis on Goodreads
I received this book for free from NetGalley.
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
How have I gone through my entire life without having read Maya Angelou yet?! I can’t believe that I have been missing out on such greatness all of this time and no one saw fit to tell me this (other than Oprah, that is). But now that I’ve read her (thanks to NetGalley, who gave it to me for free in exchange for an honest review), I can say with absolute certainty that I am going to read all of the books in her autobiographical series. I’m not sure if this one is part of her series or not, but it’s a memoir that chronicles Maya’s relationship with her mother.
Abandoned as young children by their unprepared mother, Vivian Baxter, Maya and her brother lived for a decade with their grandmother. When they became and age where being a black man in the south could be problematic, Maya and Bailey moved to California to live with the mother who had abandoned them.
The book highlights the struggles between Maya and her mother, and, ultimately, their mutual understanding, respect, and love for each other. Reading about Maya Angelou’s mother leaves the reader little doubt that Maya would grow up to be such a powerful and influential figure. Her mother was strong, willful, and read to protect herself and her family at any cost. She taught Maya that a reputation is the most important thing a person has going for them, and to make sure that if you, “say it in the closet.. be prepared to say it on the city hall steps.”
This short and powerful book is a great read, especially for mothers and daughters. I don’t think I can give this book the justice it deserves, so I will quote Maya in her description of her mother’s influence on her and hope the enormity of the words is enough to make you run out and pick up a copy:
“My mother’s gifts of courage to me were both large and small. The latter are woven so subtly into the fabric of my psyche that I can hardly distinguish where she stops and I begin.”