Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Spotting this book I only could think of it's status as a classic and that I had never read it. In fact, I don't recall it ever being on an optional reading list. But I have a desire to read as many classics as possible and after reading the first few pages and wanting to read more I knew I had to give it a go.

Maya Angelou writes of her life in an almost poetic manner- which is fitting since she is a poet. The biography covers her childhood and the changes a person goes through up until they reach adulthood. Born in the early half of the 1900's many important American events occur- the depression, WWI and II. But it also deals with real life content that has left it on the banned book list.

Rape, racism, molestation, premarital sex, teen pregnancy, prostitution, and fights. The less then positive side of life is evident in Maya's life. Some closed minded people might want to turn the other cheek and pretend that these type of situations don't exist in the world. But they do occur and Maya lived, then described her experiences with an eloquence that is hard to come by.

Many of the fears and struggles any child faces are presented and I feel any person who had a childhood (read: anyone) can relate to Maya. But I appreciated the insiders look to life as a black child in the south prior to the 1950's. The racism is shocking to me but a good reminder of the way people used to be treated (and I fear, in some locations, still are treated).

I can understand why this biography is considered to be a classic. The recording of a time passed and the brutal honesty is beautiful and places a firm grip to my memory. I would want my daughters to read this book, maybe even my sons. The life lessons and changes could be written of in no clearer a voice.

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