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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

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7,806110430 (3.94)306
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)

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» See also 306 mentions

English (109)  Dutch (1)  All languages (110)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
I admit this is the first book I read by Maya Angelou (but not the last), and I was hooked from the first lines. What I found fascinating is that this is a story that opens up to you unconditionally, and offers so many interpretations, depending on what you want to get out of it. To me, it is a story of maturing, of becoming, of being human. I have drown and come back to life while reading it, and immensely enjoyed it. ( )
  simora | Mar 15, 2015 |
Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.
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  cm37107 | Mar 5, 2015 |
I know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou; (4*)

Written in such lyrical language, this is a very powerful story. It explains much about the end of the segregation era. Angelou rises to heights unreachable by other autobiographical writers.
It is a wonderful story telling of life as Black woman supported by family and dismissed by society. She warns of future times that may present the same challenges. ( )
1 vote rainpebble | Feb 19, 2015 |
AUTHOR: ANGELOU, Maya
TITLE: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
DATE READ: 01/30/15
RATING: 4.5/B+
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS Bio/1969/Ballantine Books/289 pgs
SERIES/STAND-ALONE: 1st of 7 Autobiographies ( 2. Gather together in My Name, 3. All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, 4. The Heart of a Woman, 5. Singin' and Swingin' and Getting' Merry Like Christmas 6. A Song Flung Up To Heaven 7. Mom & Me & Mom
TIME/PLACE: 1928- 1945 approx 1st 15 years; Arkansas & California
FIRST LINES: "When I was 3 and Bailey 4, we had arrived in the musty little town, wearing tags on our wrists which instructed -- "To Whom It May Concern" -- that we were Marguerite & Bailey Johnson Jr., from Long Beach, CA , en route to Stamps, Arkansas, c/o Mrs. Annie Henderson."
COMMENTS: I think I have read this book … but many years ago. I recently came across an older pb copy of this book and had it ready to read when it was chosen as one of the monthly reads. Altho' I haven't really been a big fan of poetry (altho' that is changing, seem to have more of an interest lately) I've always liked Maya Angelou. Who doesn't like listening to that wonderful voice (both physically & on the page) so full of power! This is her 1st autobiography and it starts out w/ she & her brother, Bailey on a train by themselves being sent off by their parents in California to their father's mother in a small town in Arkansas. This "Mom" in Arkansas is a strong character and quite the respected person in town -- she owns the store in the black neighborhood. So she is pretty much known to everyone. She is a hard worker and expect the same from her son's children. She also has a grown son living w/ her who has some disabilities. This is a home where the children are expected to be devoted to God and work hard. Love is not openly talked about but neither is there abuse or mistreatment. Maybe not the warmest of environments but "Mom" definitely cares for her grandkids and does the best she can for them. They are shuttled back and forth between their estranged parents a few times and eventually end up in San Francisco w/ their Mother. Their mother is also a no nonsense woman and a woman w/ a head for business, maybe not as mainstream as a store, but she succeeds. There is an unfortunate incident when Maya/Ritte is young and taken of advantage by her mother's boyfriend and this is to shape her view on relationships and love for a long time. As this books ends Maya is a bit of a physically awkward teenager and is trying to learn about love. I look forward to reading on about Maya Angelou's life. ( )
  pammykn | Feb 9, 2015 |
Yet another book that you have to take a deep breath before writing a review about. If for no other reason that what can be said about it that has not already been said?

I have been meaning to read this book for many years. Looked for it when I could remember (I often forget to bring my notebook that has books I am supposed to look for that I think I want to read). I finally came across it in a used bookstore and its been sitting on my shelf for about a year.

All I can say is, if you have not read this book, you are missing out! The book, the woman, is as amazing as everything you have heard about her and it. The prose is lyrical, haunting, like dripping honey infused with lavender highlights that seep into your soul and speaks directly to it.

For those that are not familiar with the story, its an autobiography of her younger life where she and her brother were left in the care of their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas, life there in their country store, the racism and hatred that was part of the time, and even more so in a small Southern town. Through her words, we are drawn into the little store, the home her and her brother share with their grandmother, her simple words, so perfect, you can smell the smells of the fires, taste the sugar lumps on their fingertips and smart at the harsh words of the white people who treat them as less than human.

When her mother shows up and carts them off to California, she shows you a new world. One that is changing fast with a new breed of colored that are finding a place in the world, a place where there is money and property. Where, if like her mother, you are light enough to almost pass for one of the white women, doors open for you. It is in this world that Maya is raped by her mother's boyfriend.

One of the most striking things of the novel is the lack of anger in the voice of the author. The story is told in the gentle voice of a storyteller who is passing along a tale of how things were. It is story to be savored by any willing to open its pages and promises sadness and tears, joy and laughter and an empowerment of the spirit. It is the story of a child who rose from the dust of the South to become one of the greatest and most loved voices in American Literature.

SephiPiderWitch
http://sephipiderwitch.com/know-caged-bird-sings-maya-angelo/ ( )
  sephibitchwitch | Jan 6, 2015 |
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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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Epigraph
Dedication
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:36 -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)

» see all 10 descriptions

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