Cannonball Read V: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
While Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has been on my reading list for years, I have just now gotten around to reading it. I taught excerpts of the book in both my middle and high school English classes, and while my students and I enjoyed those sections of the book, they certainly don’t do a book of this magnitude much justice.
Angelou wrote this autobiography in 1969, and it chronicles the events that took place in Maya’s life from the age of three, when she and her brother are shipped off to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas, to the birth of her son when she was seventeen. Having read some reviews of the book before beginning it, I was a bit hesitant to pick up the book, mostly because many of the book reviews I read cautioned about the explicit rape scene that occurs when Maya is a young child. While that particular scene left me sick, sad, and angry, I thought Angelou handled it with the grace and strength for which she is known.
This book is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and it inspires hope in the reader. Angelou is able to endure child abuse, racism, and poverty in order to become the success that she is today. I give it four stars.
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