Book Review #97 – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou (Banned Books Week Special)

Hello guys!

Since this is Banned Books Week, I decided to read and review something on the theme! I chose I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou.

Trigger Warning: Rape 

Buy this book from Book Depository

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Synopsis:

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Singscaptures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.

 

Pros:

  • brutally honest, yet funny
  • gorgeous progression from simpler writing/thoughts to more complex as the character/author grew up
  • the passages focused on sexual assault and race were some of the most touching and heartbreaking. And thought provoking
  • I read the audiobook and it helped me a lot to connect with the story and the main character since it’s narrated by the author
  • it really hit me when I understood what she meant with the title and it’s probably one of my favourites ever

 

Cons:

  • I found the ending to be a bit abrupt, would gladly read another big chunk if it was available

 

Verdict: 

I picked this audiobok since I was dying to read anything from Maya Angelou and I thought banned books week was perfect to pick this title and still keep my goal of reading more non-fictional and intersectional books! Well, this one was all of it. As I said, hearing the audiobook narrated by the author made the experience a whole more touching, knowing she herself was going through her memories with me. Some of those are kinda heartbreaking, like when Angelou is raped by her mother’s boyfriend or when her grandma has to almost blackmail a dentist to treat her tooth, since he doesn’t “work on blacks”. But I felt it was on those moments that the author expressed herself more beautifully and let her words flow freely. I really liked this titled although I feel like I should love it, since there’s nothing I really disliked about it. But I just really liked it. Does that even make sense?

Anyway, I would recommend this to anyone interested in american literature. Really interesting example of the genre! And one of the most iconic titles by a black woman. A Must read, really.

Have any of you read this? Please let me know!

See you guys soon,

Cat.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review #97 – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou (Banned Books Week Special)

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