Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures 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.
 
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin


From the Hardcover edition.
April 15, 2009  |  317 pages
(Rated on Aug 31, 2015)
Grade: B    (switch to numeric scale)
L/E Ratio: 50% Literature, 50% Entertainment
Tags:
Writing Quality:
Low High
Originality:
Low High

Addictiveness:
Low High
Movie Potential:
Low High

Re-readability:
Low High
Sequel Potential:
Low High
Comment:
Maya Angelou's series of autobiographies is well loved by critics and the world over, but none quite so as the first of her books, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.' The book tells the story of Angelou's upbringing in the American South in the years preceding and during World War II. It is very well written, filled with detail and narrative that makes it feel more like a novel than a memoir. It has moments of great sadness, and is most remembered perhaps for one of these in particular, but is