Wednesday, October 7, 2020

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

 I had never read any works by Maya Angelou previous to this autobiography she wrote in 1969.  I was absolutely engaged in how well she wrote a piece of non fiction in a manner that felt like you were reading an novel.  Her stories are heartfelt and at times terrifying.  Her choice of tone and words to represent her young self is amazing and it is easy to imagine being right there with her in Stamps, Arkansas in the 30s and 40s.  It was interesting to read about segregation from a black person's perspective and to see how the differences were perceived by the black community.  I also found it interesting to see the contrast in her experiences in St. Louis versus in Arkansas.  

I selected this book as one that had been banned for banned books week for a challenge.  This book was banned in the 1980s in Alabama as being inflammatory towards whites.  Her words are reflective of her experiences and her childhood.  I do not feel this book or others from previous generation should be banned.  In fact they provide an important glimpse into the era and the growth we have seen in our country.  Excluding the literary works or altering them due to inflammatory words, depictions or words no longer acceptable in society is a form of cancel culture.  The language included in the works was reflective of the time or is intended to convey the environment in which they were written.  They are part of history just as much as the Odyssey and Shakespeare.  We wouldn't  alter those works to fit modern language and we should alter books such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or Huck Finn.  

I am glad I selected this work.  Reading this autobiography provides a glimpse into the difficult life of someone who rose above her struggles and found a way to excel in the US and to leave her mark on history.  I would very much like to read more of her memoirs to learn more about her life as she grew up and was an influence in the Civil Rights movement and as a poet and educator.  

I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

Well written memoir that reads like a novel. Just an amazing story. I didn't know much about Maya Angelou before reading this book. What an amazing rise above a heartbreaking childhood. Angelou does an amazing job describing the childhood of a black woman raised in the South in the 30s and 40s. She depicts it accurately without accusations. I feel this has a much bigger impact that drawing too much hatred into the work. I will read more of her memoirs to learn more about this woman's life. 

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Literary Escapes-  AR
  2. AtoZ and Alphabet soup challenge #AlphabetSoupChallenge "I"
  3. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge  39- read a banned book during banned books week 
  4. Around the Year in 52 Books- # 47- A classic book you've always meant to read 
  5. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #40- A book on the Mensa reading list for grades 9-12
  6. Book List Queen #38- A Modern Classic
  7. Wizarding World Tour  possible categories
    • Beauxbatons:   Read a book about or written by someone you respect.
  8. 2020 TBR  #2020TBRReadingChallenge #8- novel that was banned
  9. TBR Book #31  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon
  10. Memoir  #8 Written by a person of color
  11. Historical NonFiction   book #2

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