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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)

by Maya Angelou

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Maya Angelou's Autobiographies (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,104183386 (4)1 / 501
Author's memoir of growing up black in the 1930's and 1940's.

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English (182)  French (2)  All languages (184)
Showing 1-5 of 182 (next | show all)
I should have read this many years ago, but I'll try to just be glad that now I finally have. It is every bit as good--and often heartbreaking--as I expected it would be. It's not every memoir that makes me constantly aware that the author is also a poet, but this one certainly did, and it made me eager to read more of Maya Angelou's work. ( )
  CaitlinMcC | Jul 11, 2021 |
At some point when I was a child, I acquired a copy of this book, loving the title and knowing that it held some classic status. But I was far too young to fully understand the subject matter...I'm not even sure I would have had enough context to even have gotten enough out of this book had I read it as a teenager. What I found now, as an adult reading this reflection on a childhood fraught with hardship and horrors, surprised me. I figured Angelou's poetic flair would come through, but the extent of her twists and turns on prose thoroughly delighted me. Around halfway through the memoir, I was suddenly aware of the fact that, despite addressing some very difficult topics, Angelou is hilarious. She so candidly confronts the youthful ignorance of a precocious child, but it is tender, unflinching, and relatable, even for someone whose childhood was so entirely different.

I can't wait to read her following memoir, though I am saddened that it appears to never have made it to audio...my experience with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was surely enhanced by listening to Angelou's own delivery. And I am glad I waited this long to read this book...and that I didn't wait any longer. It has made me reconsider my thought that I'd decline to participate in next year's Read Harder challenge with Book Riot (the 2018 challenge items should be due out any day now...), as I see how it has lit a fire under my butt to read several books sooner than later and led me to discover new favorites. Regardless, I'm eager to read about Angelou's life in Gather Together in My Name and continue along on her journey.

Read Harder: Read a classic by an author of color ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
Such a compelling writer. My heart hurt a lot throughout this read. Although much of this book was difficult, she writes in an honest, matter-of-fact way that gets the reader past the more painful parts. Her prose is direct and swept me along with ease. Humbling.

I bought a beautiful hardcover edition. Somehow I knew I would want to return to this work, and I am glad to have it. ( )
  terriks | Apr 25, 2021 |
Hard to read, because it talks about some awful things, but it's definitely a book that should be read. ( )
  crimsonraider | Apr 1, 2021 |
Finding out more about this author's life is always interesting. She tells about the good and the bad and how she felt, and she always seems to keep a good outlook on life. It helps me to get over some of the petty things in my own life. ( )
  ToniFGMAMTC | Feb 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 182 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Angelou, Mayaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Winfrey, OprahForewordsecondary 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?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Canonical DDC/MDS
Author's memoir of growing up black in the 1930's and 1940's.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
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.
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Average: (4)
0.5 6
1 38
1.5 8
2 98
2.5 18
3 414
3.5 92
4 1028
4.5 93
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