The first time I heard about Maya Angelou was in my freshman year Humanistic Studies class. Naturally, we read I know Why The Caged Bird Sings and everyone in the class were instantly transformed into Angelou fans.
For me, what was so monumental with the experience of reading my first Angelou work was that it brought about absolute clarity the fact that there are authors and there are storytellers. Angelou is a storyteller.
A few years later I read Singing’ and Swinging’ and Getting’ Merry Like Christmas. I was hoping to get that heart racing, all consuming feeling I had with Caged Bird but it never came. It’s a good book but not one I would call spectacular.
Then, through Our Shared Shelf, I heard of Mom & Me & Mom. I read wonderful review after review on the OSS discussion board and ordered it in the hopes of bringing about the feeling I had with Caged Bird. I found it.
Mom & Me & Mom is the seventh and final of Angelou’s autobiographies. It revolves around her life with her mother, the famous Vivian Baxter.
If you’re looking for a glamorous tale of Mother-Daughter friendship, this may not be for you. Baxter sends her children to live with their grandmother as children as her marriage falls apart. Years later, the children return and have to cope with the deep feelings of abandonment as they try to rebuild a once broken relationship.
Vivian was not a great mother of children but was for adults. Angelou is known for having one of the most interesting life’s in written record and she recounts in her memoir the part Baxter played through the tumultuous ups and downs.
I curled up and read this within 24 hours, I simply couldn’t put it down. Maya Angelou is able to pull you into her life in a way no other author I’ve read is able to.
Apart from the fact that she is a talented writer, I think it’s her innate ability to make every single person who reads her book feel like she is their close friend has so much to do with her incredible popularity.
What do you think Maya Angelou – do you think she’s worth the hype or overrated?