Customer Reviews for

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

47 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

A Review of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Albert Ellis once said, "The art of love.is largely persistence" and in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by critically acclaimed Maya Angelou, persistence is exactly what young Maya intends to keep strong. The completely autobiographical memoir lures the reader in with i...
Albert Ellis once said, "The art of love.is largely persistence" and in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by critically acclaimed Maya Angelou, persistence is exactly what young Maya intends to keep strong. The completely autobiographical memoir lures the reader in with its depiction of the lives of blacks in the Deep South during the Depression. Within the heart of rural Stamps, Arkansas little Maya and her brother Bailey are prisoners of the tight knit community and all that it brings. Along with their sacrilegious Grandmother, who is constantly in a fit in regards to any lack of obedience, Maya struggles to find her place. On the surface, she plays a character who genuinely enjoys living among her interesting quartet of a family, her Grandmother, her physically disabled Uncle Willie, and her true joy in life, Bailey are all she has in the world until her estranged father arrives to take Maya and Bailey to live with "Mother Dearest." The life of the big city entrances Maya and her imagination. While living with her mother, Maya receives an education, and meets all sorts of different people, one of those people being Mr. Freeman, Maya's mother's boyfriend. When Mr. Freeman takes advantage of eight year old Maya, it becomes clear that the children must be sent back home to their little town of Stamps.
For the rest of Maya's time in Stamps, she encounters all sorts of different types of people; people who will make a great impact in due time, and those who simply play a role in every day fun. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings portrays a great tale of a young girl's battle to suppress the boredom of country life and strive for a greater meaning to her existence while also dealing with the inevitable battles of growing up.
Maya Angelou's writing is flawless and each phrase is master crafted to perfection as she explores the truth of her childhood. "Looking through the years, I marvel that Saturday was my favorite day in the week. What pleasures could have been squeezed between the fanfolds of unending tasks? Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives." (113) The beauty of her words flow together in a magnificent mosaic of phrases and each step in this eloquent autobiography leaves a lingering sense of compassion in the reader's heart. The heart wrenching moments, though distressing, are overshadowed by the little joys Maya always seems to find. The way she confronts the temptations and urges throughout her teenage years are exposed in great detail as she takes little steps to achieve what she considers the "normality" of being a teenage girl.
I truly enjoyed this radiant and joyful story with its realistic balance of pain and pleasure. The reader will be forever mindful of this little girl's journey into adulthood, the quest for love, and the long standing clash with society.

posted by Cassidy54 on February 22, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

24 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings

The book, "I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings," is a book about this African American girl, Marguerite, who was perfectly fine one day, then the next, never speaks again. She finally speaks when Ms. Flowers helps her speak again; for the first time in almost a year. Somet...
The book, "I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings," is a book about this African American girl, Marguerite, who was perfectly fine one day, then the next, never speaks again. She finally speaks when Ms. Flowers helps her speak again; for the first time in almost a year. Something happen to that girl when she was at her rich grandmother's house, that changed her live forever; something happen, that made her never want to speak again, and Mrs. Flowers seems to be the only person that can help her.
Marguerite was a beautiful little girl. Her skin was as rich brown, she was very smart too. Her brother and her was both very close. They were like best friends. Her poor grandmother lived in Arkansas and her rich grandmother lived in Missouri. Margurerite would have to travel back and forth to see both. Her parents also lived in Missouri with her grandmother. Her mom seemed to always have a different man around, and her dad, well her dad was always working.
One day, when Marguerite and her brother was in Missouri visting her grandmother, one of her mom's "boyfriends" came home and was very "touchy" with her. She asked that man, "What do you think your doing?" He replied with, "Let's just play a game." She replied nervously, "I don't think I like this game." He forced her on the couch and sexually abused her. Her mom walks in and she pretends like nothing ever happened. Then when her family in Missouri finds out, they kill the man. Marguerite was so terrified. She blamed the murder on herself, saying that it's all her fault because she opened her mouth. So she said that she will never speak again, so nobody will ever get hurt again. She just wanted to go home to Arkansas.
Finally, when Marguerite and her brother arrived in Arkansas, nobody can seem to get her to speak. She refused. Wouldn't even speak a word in school. Ms. Flowers came in her grandmother, Mrs. Baxter's store and buys a few groceries. She asked if Marguerite and help her carry them home. Marguerite accepted. So they headed to Ms. Flowers house.
Ms. Flowers respected her. She read her a beautiful poem, made her cookies, and gave her some tea. Marguerite felt honored and cared for. She was so happy and delighted, that when Ms. Flowers asked her a question; just one question, Marguerite answered with, "Yes, mam." That was her first word since the accident. Her final words. She believed that Ms. Flowers alteast deserved that.

posted by 3411861 on April 22, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2005

    NOT GOOD AT ALL!

    I honestly hated this book in all aspects, i didnt like the way she portrayed anything in it. It was such a slow read and i couldnt wait till i finished it. Sorry Maya Angelou or any of her fans but to put it plainly this book was horrible.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    Bad

    Read this in high school and thought it sucked. It was just boring. Everyone is only praising is because the author is dead. Be real. The book is awful.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2009

    I Know Why The Caged Bird wanted to escape

    I have to be honest... I would rather hang myself than ever read this book again. I had to read it for high school--and I love Shakespeare, and the Odyessey, etc, but this was one of the worst stories I have ever read. The writing was boring--and dear god, mellow-tone, even during what was supposed to be the "dramatic" parts. Read at your own risk.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2008

    Made me feel ill

    This book has a very weak plot if any. I only read this book because I had to. The main character being raped in detail made me feel sick. NOT A GOOD BOOK FOR KIDS

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2008

    Horrible.

    If you're into books with absolutely no plot and a boring storyline, you're in for a real treat. After the first chapter I thought it might still have a chance to pull me in, but the novel ended up becoming worse and worse. Do yourself a favor and find another book. This one is definitely not worth reading.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Dewflight

    But im not leaving yet.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    What is a...

    CLAN?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2011

    not good

    it wasn't very good i didnt read it i looked on sparknotes to do my book report on it

    0 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2008

    A reviewer

    One of the worst books I've ever read. The book has no plot and is poorly written. I waisted three hours of my life reading this nonsense in page form.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 20, 2011

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted June 9, 2014

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