Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, September 28, 2009

Memoir Mondays and Banned Book Week... I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

"being aware of her displacement is the rust on
the razor..."

Today is Monday... and that means Memoir Monday! How would you feel if you poured out your soul, revealed painful secrets and someone decided your heartfelt words, in essence your life was "too graphic", "pornographic" and "objectionable"...

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is the autobiography of Maya Angelou and describes her coming of age as a precocious but insecure black girl in the American South during the 1930s. Dealing with abandonment issues (her parents divorce when she's three & off she goes to live with a grandmother), racism, segregation, being brutally raped at 8, guilt & shame, an unwanted pregnancy and life as it came to a young black girl in the south, we get a picture of a hard and frightening life. These are hard issues to deal with and in Maya Angelou's lyrical prose and remarkable candor, she shows that racism is a product of ignorance and prejudice, and that she has found the strength to rise above her horrible circumstances. Courage is a word that come to mind along with part of the poem of the same name as her book and written by her...

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill

Of things unknown but longed for still

And his tune is heard on the distant hill for

The caged bird sings of freedom.

Interesting is the part of the book where Maya is introduced to the wonderful world of books and the power of words, all of which help Maya deal with her world...

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings was nominated for a National Book Award in 1970 and remained on The New York Times paperback bestseller list for two years. It has been used in high schools & universities, and the book has been "celebrated for creating new literary avenues for the American memoir." It has been praised as an important piece of literature, and the New York Times Book Review calls Maya Angelou an author who "writes like a song, and like the truth."

What are you reading for Banned Books Week? Have you read I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings? Tell me what you think of the writing and the message...

*P.S. This book is Kindle Ready! For a Bargain Price of $6.99!


Lisa said...

Maya Angelou is AMAZING, I have not read this yet, but thanks to your review will add it to my TBR pile!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Lisa!
This is an amazing story. I actually downloaded on my Kindle to have there too! :D

Fay said...

I read this book in college as as part of an English Literature assignment.

I loved it. I found it to be very real, very emotional and truly brilliant.

I may even have to put it on my TBR pile for a re-read.

Lisa said...

We do not have kindle capabilities in Canada yet. You like yours? You read both kindle and real books?

Anonymous said...

I read it for school when I was about 16. I know I was impressed but I can't remember much else -- even though I also read the sequels... It is nice to get your refreshing course ;)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Sometimes I think the people who challenge books don't even read them. Because how could you read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and not think it was majorly important?
I have never forgotten this book--haunting story and extraordinary writing. Thanks for this post.
I posted about another book I feel this way about, The Handmaid's Tale. Way too important to be banned from bookshelves.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This is a great post. I have not read her but I plan to. You put it very well when you ask how would you feel when you pore your heart out and you are labeled BANNED?

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