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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya…
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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (original 1969; edition 1983)

by Maya Angelou

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,277129379 (3.95)1 / 338
Member:thekoolaidmom
Title:I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Authors:Maya Angelou
Info:Bantam (1983), Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:20th Century, abuse, adult, african-american literature, american literature, Arkansas, Autobiography, banned, child abuse, coming of age, feminism, Maya Angelou, memoir, non-fiction, poetry, racism, rape, southern, women writers, read, borrowed from the library

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1969)

Recently added byprivate library, erbisoeul, Jeff-Rees-Jones, GreenLightGirl, CydMelcher, Koren56, katyafw, stephb6
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English (127)  Dutch (2)  All languages (129)
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
I have meant to read this for a long time, and is was assigned for a class that I am taking. I am glad that I finally read it.

It is tragic, and matter-of-fact but not without beauty. Angelou vividly tells her memories, at times with subtle poetry. ( )
  AngelaGustafson | Jan 25, 2016 |
Delightful, depressing, enlightening. I like her prose far more than her fiction. Certainly not a "lay the blame" memoir, but I longed for certain aspects of her younger life to have more affect. Sin pervades life, and it is no different here. She is honest and uncompromising about what were her choices and which choices belonged to others. I wouldn't recommend this for a younger audience as mature themes are pervasive, but the message should be heard by everyone—how racism, poverty, and the choices of others shape us into who we are. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
Delightful, depressing, enlightening. I like her prose far more than her fiction. Certainly not a "lay the blame" memoir, but I longed for certain aspects of her younger life to have more affect. Sin pervades life, and it is no different here. She is honest and uncompromising about what were her choices and which choices belonged to others. I wouldn't recommend this for a younger audience as mature themes are pervasive, but the message should be heard by everyone—how racism, poverty, and the choices of others shape us into who we are. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
Without pretentions, it’s a magnificent story about being a woman, a black woman, in the 1st half of the american 20th century, but most of all, a strong story about what is being a human.
With a good use of a relatively simple language, Maya tells us about experiences of prejudice and injustice that could sound old tales if they weren’t so scarily recent. I admire the simple way that she reached complex ideas and feelings, some of which I had doubt to ever see expressed in words in a way that I could relate so much. The graceful and dignified tone of the entire book, with a good amount of humor and soulful characters, are the final assurance that all the praises said and to be said about the author are truly deserved.
More than a reading, it´s an experience that one should dare to go through. ( )
  flaviafn | Jan 16, 2016 |
This is the first of Angelou's autobiographical books, and it covers her life from childhood up to the birth of her son. When she is three years old, her parents send her and her brother to live with their grandmother in rural Arkansas. The children spend most of their childhoods in their grandmother's very strict household, although they do spend a year with their mother in St. Louis, where Angelou was raped by her mother's boyfriend. As teenagers they are sent to California to live with their mother, and they learn about her streetwise lifestyle.

While this book is hard to read at times due to it's frank discussions of racism and sexual abuse, among other things, it is absolutely a work of art. Angelou doesn't just describe events that occurred in her life, she also reflects on how they influenced her and what they said about society as a whole. I also really appreciated how the book focused on a specific period of American history without being obvious about it. If you haven't read this, you should. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maya Angelouprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rutten, KathleenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to my son
Guy Johnson,
and all the strong black birds of promise who defy the odds and gods and sing their songs
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What you looking at me for?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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James Baldwin Writes:

This testimony from a Black sister marks the beginning of a new era in the minds and hearts and lives of all Black men and women...
I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity. I have no words for this achievement, but I know that not since the days of my childhood, when the people in books were more real than the people one saw every day, have I found myself so moved ...
her portrait is a Biblical study of life in the midst of death."

The Moving and Beautiful autobiography of a talented black woman. She continues her story in gather together in GATHER TOGETHER IN MY NAME, SINGIN' AND SWINGIN' AND GETTIN' MERRY LIKE CHRISTMAS and THE HEART OF A WOMAN.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553279378, Mass Market Paperback)

In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California--where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever. Marvelously told, with Angelou's "gift for language and observation," this "remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:44 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Presents the story of a spirited and gifted, but poor, black girl growing up in the South in the 1930's. Tells how she came into her own, experiencing prejudice, family difficulties, and a relationship with a teacher who taught her to respect books, learning, and herself. The moving and beautiful autobiography of a talented black woman. "I have no words for this achievement, but I know that not since the days of my childhood have I found myself so moved. Her portrait is a Biblical study of life in the midst of death".-James Baldwin.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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