Maya Angelou // I know why the caged bird sings

MayaI don’t research books before I read them. Instead, I love blissfully falling into the story – and the narrative. So, when Meagan told me that I know why the caged bird sings was Maya’s memoir, I was completely stunned. Immediately followed by me replaying all of my favourite scenes over and over in my head in disbelief.

Meagan was astounded by how Maya though “set up for failure” became a “successful black woman-artist.” I had to agree with her that she is pretty admirable and an intelligent writer.


Having been immersed in a few scenes – if not the entire novel – I couldn’t believe that Maya was raped. These scenes of Maya as a young girl and her mother’s boyfriend is the reason why this memoir is banned in certain American states. That boggles my mind. I don’t think literature should be banned, especially this novel, which has an inspirational story behind it. You can’t pretend certain tragedies don’t happen in life. Otherwise, how would people learn, make educated decisions and grow?

Then there was the part where Maya drives into Mexico with her father. This misadventure and unforeseen circumstances lends itself to Maya, under-age driving her drunken (passed out) father back into the U.S. Crazy! They literally almost died at one point, but she lived to tell the tale. How irresponsible her dad really was – to bring his daughter with him to a Mexican bar where he visits with his lover(s).

At the end of Maya’s memoir, I was left with many questions. Though, to be fair I didn’t realize it was part of a series. Yet, what happened to her brother? He moves out from their mother’s home and that’s it. We don’t hear anything more. Maya gets pregnant! And that’s basically where it ends. She decides to keep the baby – despite the baby daddy’s choice to abandon both her and their child.

It’s incredible. I was mesmerized by Maya’s descriptions of her mother as well. Such a mysterious woman, and one who would provide Maya with insight (or life lessons) at the most random moments.

“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” – Vivian Baxter (Maya’s mom)

This novel is an inspiration and one I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It was a birthday present from Meagan, and it took me a year to actually pick it up and read, but Maya’s humour in such dark situations is beyond empowering.

About Dee

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1 Response to Maya Angelou // I know why the caged bird sings

  1. Such a beautiful book. Thanks for sharing the wonderful thoughts! If you’re ever interested in some other great book reviews and musings, be sure to follow! Thanks!

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