Despite having heard the name Maya Angelou since my youth, this is the first book of hers that I’ve read. I was specifically looking for a good memoir for Black History Month. I try to read diversely year-round but I get that the purpose behind having commemorative months is that we don’t always pay equal attention and things like this remind to spend more time on all groups.
As the title implies, this memoir focuses on Angelou’s relationship with her mother. Their relationship was complicated, particularly in the beginning, but mothers and daughters often don’t understand each other when we are young. I am in awe of her mother. The things she did and her attitude toward the world were amazing. It’s really not surprising that a woman like that raised a legend like Angelou. She not only modeled for her what it was to just do what you’ve decided to do, no matter the obstacles, but she supported her daughter during such endeavors. She appears to have known exactly when to be nice and exactly when to be frightening to get the results she required to get the job done. This is a special talent that I really wish I could master.
Like so many of us, Angelou leans on her mother for support or advice and sometimes does exactly the opposite. But her mother is still there for her when it all falls apart, which is what I think we all hope for after we’ve gone against our parents wishes. Sometimes it works out, but when it doesn’t, it’s great to get their support in the aftermath. Sometimes people forget how much parenting goes beyond when we are children but Angelou puts into perspective how long we lean on our mothers.
After this, I definitely have to read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings even though I know I’m late to reading it. I look forward to seeing how it overlaps or if there were different perspectives, since this was written much later in Angelou’s life. Does she see some things differently now?
I borrowed the audiobook, read by Angelou herself, from the library, but it can found from plenty of outlets. Click on the cover image to be redirected to Booklikes for options or add to Goodreads for later.