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Mom & Me & Mom

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.
 
For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size ...

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.
 
For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.
 
Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise from immeasurable depths to reach impossible heights.

Praise for Mom & Me & Mom
 
Mom & Me & Mom is delivered with Angelou’s trademark good humor and fierce optimism. If any resentments linger between these lines, if lives are partially revealed without all the bitter details exposed, well, that is part of Angelou’s forgiving design. As an account of reconciliation, this little book is just revealing enough, and pretty irresistible.”—The Washington Post
 
“Moving . . . a remarkable portrait of two courageous souls.”—People

“[The] latest, and most potent, of her serial autobiographies . . . [a] tough-minded, tenderhearted addition to Angelou’s spectacular canon.”—Elle
 
“Mesmerizing . . . Angelou has a way with words that can still dazzle us, and with her mother as a subject, Angelou has a near-perfect muse and mystery woman.”—Essence
 
“True to her style, [Angelou’s] writing cuts to the chase with compression and simplicity, and there in the background is a calypso smoothness, flurries and showers of musicality between the moments of wickedness. . . . A tightly strung, finely tuned memoir about life with her mother.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“In this loving recollection of a complicated relationship, Angelou for the first time details the mother-daughter journey to reconciliation and unwavering connection and support. . . . Angelou vividly portrays a spirited woman. . . . [A] remarkable and deeply revealing chronicle of love and healing.”—Booklist
 
“Written with her customary eloquence . . . follows in the episodic style of Angelou’s earlier volumes of autobiography, pulling the reader along effortlessly. The lessons and the love presented here will speak to those trying to make their way in the world.”—Publishers Weekly

“In straightforward style, Mom & Me & Mom dives deeply into Angelou’s complicated relationship with her mother. . . . At 84, Angelou shows few signs of slowing down.”—BookPage

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In her 1969 National Book Award-winning autobiography Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou wrote about her mother's early abandonment of herself and her older brother. What she does not write about there is her reunion with her mother a decade and their surprising reconciliation. Mom & Me & Mom is, as its title suggests, an evolving portrait of two women learning to understand and respect one another. Bound to be a bestseller.

The Washington Post - Valerie Sayers
…Angelou is smart and gifted enough to write for any audience she pleases. Clearly, she chooses to write for readers as open, playful and straightforward as herself…Mom & Me & Mom is delivered with Angelou's trademark good humor and fierce optimism. If any resentments linger between these lines, if lives are partially revealed without all the bitter details exposed, well, that is part of Angelou's forgiving design. As an account of reconciliation, this little book is just revealing enough, and pretty irresistible.
Publishers Weekly
Written with her customary eloquence, Angelou’s latest focuses on her relationship with her mother, the fierce, beautiful, charismatic, and determined Vivian Baxter—dubbed “Lady” by the 13-year-old Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings) upon their reunion. Amid the breakdown in her marriage, Baxter had sent Angelou and her brother, Bailey, to live with their paternal grandmother in Arkansas when they were toddlers. But as Bailey grew older, their grandmother sent them to live with their mother in California. Though initially dubious, Angelou soon found a fierce supporter and life teacher in Baxter. Over her lifetime, Baxter was a boarding house owner, a gambler, a registered nurse, a pioneering sailor, and head of Stockton Black Women for Humanity; wise and generous, she wasn’t opposed to threats and violence, when necessary. There are difficult times (including a violent, disturbing episode between Angelou and a jealous boyfriend), as well as triumphs, such as Angelou’s job as the first African-American female streetcar conductor, obtained thanks to Baxter’s encouragement. The book follows in the episodic style of Angelou’s earlier volumes of autobiography, pulling the reader along effortlessly. The lessons and the love presented here will speak to those trying to make their way in the world. B&w photos. Agent: Helen Brann, the Helen Brann Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Mom & Me & Mom
 
Mom & Me & Mom is delivered with Angelou’s trademark good humor and fierce optimism. If any resentments linger between these lines, if lives are partially revealed without all the bitter details exposed, well, that is part of Angelou’s forgiving design. As an account of reconciliation, this little book is just revealing enough, and pretty irresistible.”—The Washington Post
 
“Moving . . . a remarkable portrait of two courageous souls.”—People
 
“[The] latest, and most potent, of her serial autobiographies . . . [a] tough-minded, tenderhearted addition to Angelou’s spectacular canon.”—Elle
 
“Mesmerizing . . . Angelou has a way with words that can still dazzle us, and with her mother as a subject, Angelou has a near-perfect muse and mystery woman.”—Essence
 
“True to her style, [Angelou’s] writing cuts to the chase with compression and simplicity, and there in the background is a calypso smoothness, flurries and showers of musicality between the moments of wickedness. . . . A tightly strung, finely tuned memoir about life with her mother.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“In this loving recollection of a complicated relationship, Angelou for the first time details the mother-daughter journey to reconciliation and unwavering connection and support. . . . Angelou vividly portrays a spirited woman. . . . [A] remarkable and deeply revealing chronicle of love and healing.”—Booklist
 
“Written with her customary eloquence . . . follows in the episodic style of Angelou’s earlier volumes of autobiography, pulling the reader along effortlessly. The lessons and the love presented here will speak to those trying to make their way in the world.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“In straightforward style, Mom & Me & Mom dives deeply into Angelou’s complicated relationship with her mother. . . . At 84, Angelou shows few signs of slowing down.”—BookPage
Library Journal
Those who have read Angelou's previous memoirs, including the classic I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, will be familiar with some of the stories captured in this latest creation. Still, the author's focus here is on her mother, Vivian Baxter, and that focus makes this a distinct addition to Angelou's autobiographical writings. When Angelou was three her parents separated and sent both Maya and her brother to live with their grandmother. When Angelou was reunited with her mother ten years later, the initial relationship was difficult, though eventually they formed a strong bond. Here Angelou writes about critical episodes from her life while giving attention to her mother's positive influence at various crossroads. The author reveals Baxter's major contributions to her phenomenal career. This memoir is also a beautiful tribute to Baxter's independent, vibrant, and courageous spirit. VERDICT Because of Angelou's popularity and her approachable writing, this book will have wide appeal.—Stacy Russo, Santa Ana Coll. Lib., CA
Kirkus Reviews
Angelou (Letters to My Daughter, 2008, etc.) has given us the opportunity to read much of her life, but here she unveils her relationship with her mother for the first time. True to her style, the writing cuts to the chase with compression and simplicity, and there in the background is a calypso smoothness, flurries and showers of musicality between the moments of wickedness. And wickedness abounds, for Angelou had a knack for picking bad men. But the pivot of the book is her mother--first called lady, then mother and finally mom--who sent Angelou and her brother to live with their grandmother when Angelou was 3. By the time her older brother was capable of getting into serious trouble as an independent-minded black man in the American South, they were shipped back to their mother, who was as ready as she would ever be. She had been around, ran a few gambling houses and picked up plenty of worldly wisdom, which she dispensed to Angelou: "Power and determination…[w]ith those two things, you can go anywhere and everywhere"; "If you don't protect yourself, you look like a fool asking somebody else to protect you." Though readers may not sense that her mother was not the most reliable force in her life, Angelou knew enough to grab the most from what she had: "[S]he was there with me. She had my back, supported me. This is the role of the mother….She stands between the known and the unknown." Strung through the narrative are intense episodes in Angelou's personal progress, from those disappointing-to-terrifying boyfriends, a seriously ugly meeting with her father and stepmother, her days as a prostitute and her incandescent relationships with her brother and her son. A tightly strung, finely tuned memoir about life with her mother.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804120937
  • Publisher: Diversified Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 314,786
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Heart of a Woman, she wrote numerous volumes of poetry, among them Phenomenal Woman, And Still I Rise, On the Pulse of Morning, and Mother. Maya Angelou died in 2014.

Biography

As a chronicler of her own story and the larger civil rights movement in which she took part, Maya Angelou is remarkable in equal measure for her lyrical gifts as well as her distinct sense of justice, both politically and personally.

Angelou was among the first, if not the first, to create a literary franchise based on autobiographical writings. In the series' six titles -- beginning with the classic I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and followed by Gather Together in My Name, Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, Heart of a Woman, All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, and 2002's A Song Flung Up to Heaven -- Angelou tells her story in language both no-nonsense and intensely spiritual.

Angelou's facility with language, both on paper and as a suede-voiced speaker, have made her a populist poet. Her 1995 poem "Phenomenal Woman" is still passed along the Web among women as inspiration ("It's in the reach of my arms/The span of my hips/The stride of my steps/The curl of my lips./I'm a woman/Phenomenally/Phenomenal woman/That's me"), and her 1993 poem "On the Pulse of the Morning," written for Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration, was later released as a Grammy-winning album.

Angelou often cites other writers (from Kenzaburo Oe to James Baldwin) both in text and name. But as often as not, her major mentors were not writers – she had been set to work with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. before each was assassinated, stories she recounts in A Song Flung Up to Heaven.

Given her rollercoaster existence -- from poverty in Arkansas to journalism in Egypt and Ghana and ultimately, to her destiny as a successful writer and professor in the States – it's no surprise that Angelou hasn't limited herself to one or two genres. Angelou has also written for stage and screen, acted, and directed. She is the rare author from whom inspiration can be derived both from her approach to life as from her talent in writing about it. Reading her books is like taking counsel from your wisest, favorite aunt.

Good To Know

Angelou was nominated for an Emmy for her performance as Nyo Boto in the 1977 miniseries Roots. She has also appeared in films such as How to Make an American Quilt and Poetic Justice, and she directed 1998's Down in the Delta.

Angelou speaks six languages, including West African Fanti.

She taught modern dance at the Rome Opera House and the Hambina Theatre in Tel Aviv.

Before she became famous as a writer, Maya Angelou was a singer. Miss Calypso is a CD of her singing calypso songs.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Margeurite Johnson
      Maya Angelou
    2. Hometown:
      Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 4, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Education:
      High school in Atlanta and San Francisco

Read an Excerpt

1

The first decade of the twentieth century was not a great time to be born black and poor and female in St. Louis, Missouri, but Vivian Baxter was born black and poor, to black and poor parents. Later she would grow up and be called beautiful. As a grown woman she would be known as the butter-colored lady with the blowback hair.

Her father, a Trinidadian with a heavy Caribbean accent, had jumped from a banana boat in Tampa, Florida, and evaded immigration agents successfully all his life. He spoke often and loudly with pride at being an American citizen. No one explained to him that simply wanting to be a citizen was not enough to make him one.

Contrasting with her father’s dark chocolate complexion, her mother was light-colored enough to pass for white. She was called an octoroon, meaning that she had one-eighth Negro blood. Her hair was long and straight. At the kitchen table, she amused her children by whirling her braids like ropes and then later sitting on them.

Although Vivian’s mother’s people were Irish, she had been raised by German adoptive parents, and she spoke with a decided German accent.

Vivian was the firstborn of the Baxter children. Her sister Leah was next, followed by brothers Tootie, Cladwell, Tommy, and Billy.

As they grew, their father made violence a part of their inheritance. He said often, “If you get in jail for theft or burglary, I will let you rot. But if you are charged with fighting, I will sell your mother to get your bail.”

The family became known as the “Bad Baxters.” If someone angered any of them, they would track the offender to his street or to his saloon. The brothers (armed) would enter the bar. They would station themselves at the door, at the ends of the bar, and at the toilets. Uncle Cladwell would grab a wooden chair and break it, handing Vivian a piece of the chair.

He would say, “Vivian, go kick that bastard’s ass.”

Vivian would ask, “Which one?”

Then she would take the wooden weapon and use it to beat the offender.

When her brothers said, “That’s enough,” the Baxter gang would gather their violence and quit the scene, leaving their mean reputation in the air. At home they told their fighting stories often and with great relish.

Grandmother Baxter played piano in the Baptist church and she liked to hear her children sing spiritual gospel songs. She would fill a cooler with Budweiser and stack bricks of ice cream in the refrigerator.

The same rough Baxter men led by their fierce older sister would harmonize in the kitchen on “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross”:

There a precious fountain

Free to all, a healing stream,

Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

The Baxters were proud of their ability to sing. Uncle Tommy and Uncle Tootie had bass voices; Uncle Cladwell, Uncle Ira, and Uncle Billy were tenors; Vivian sang alto; and Aunt Leah sang a high soprano (the family said she also had a sweet tremolo). Many years later, I heard them often, when my father, Bailey Johnson Sr., took me and my brother, called Junior, to stay with the Baxters in St. Louis. They were proud to be loud and on key. Neighbors often dropped in and joined the songfest, each trying to sing loudest.

Vivian’s father always wanted to hear about the rough games his sons played. He would listen eagerly, but if their games ended without a fight or at least a scuffle, he would blow air through his teeth and say, “That’s little boys’ play. Don’t waste my time with silly tales.”

Then he would tell Vivian, “Bibbi, these boys are too big to play little girls’ games. Don’t let them grow up to be women.”

Vivian took his instruction seriously. She promised her father she would make sure they were tough. She led her brothers to the local park and made them watch as she climbed the highest tree. She picked fights with the toughest boys in her neighborhood, never asking her brothers to help, counting on them to wade into the fight without being asked.

Her father chastised her when she called her sister a sissy.

He said, “She’s just a girl, but you are more than that. Bibbi, you are Papa’s little girl-boy. You won’t have to be so tough forever. When Cladwell gets up some size, he will take over.”

Vivian said, “If I let him.”

Everyone laughed, and recounted the escapades about when Vivian taught them how to be tough.

2

My mother, who was to remain a startling beauty, met my father, a handsome soldier, in 1924. Bailey Johnson had returned from World War I with officer’s honors and a fake French accent. They were unable to restrain themselves. They fell in love while Vivian’s brothers walked around him threateningly. He had been to war, and he was from the South, where a black man learned early that he had to stand up to threats, or else he wasn’t a man.

The Baxter boys could not intimidate Bailey Johnson, especially after Vivian told them to lay off, to straighten up, and fly right. Vivian’s parents were not happy that she was marrying a man from the South who was neither a doctor nor lawyer. He said he was a dietitian. The Baxters said that meant he was just a Negro cook.

Vivian and Bailey left the contentious Baxter atmosphere and moved to California, where little Bailey was born. I came along two years later. My parents soon proved to each other that they couldn’t stay together. They were matches and gasoline. They even argued about how they were to break up. Neither wanted the responsibility of taking care of two toddlers. They separated and sent me and Bailey to my father’s mother in Arkansas.

I was three and Bailey was five when we arrived in Stamps, Arkansas. We had identification tags on our arms and no adult supervision. I learned later that Pullman car porters and dining car waiters were known to take children off trains in the North and put them on other trains heading south.

Save for one horrific visit to St. Louis, we lived with my father’s mother, Grandmother Annie Henderson, and her other son, Uncle Willie, in Stamps until I was thirteen. The visit to St. Louis lasted only a short time but I was raped there and the rapist had been killed. I thought I had caused his death because I told his name to the family. Out of guilt, I stopped talking to everyone except Bailey. I decided that my voice was so powerful that it could kill people, but it could not harm my brother because we loved each other so much.

My mother and her family tried to woo me away from mutism but they didn’t know what I knew: that my voice was a killing machine. They soon wearied of the sullen, silent child and sent us back to Grandmother Henderson in Arkansas, where we lived quietly and smoothly within my grandmother’s care and under my uncle’s watchful eye.

When my brilliant brother Bailey was fourteen he had reached a dangerous age for a black boy in the segregated South. It was a time when if a white person walked down the one paved block in town, any Negro on the street had to step aside and walk in the gutter.

Bailey would obey the unspoken order but sometimes he would sweep his arm theatrically and loudly say, “Yes, sir, you are the boss, boss.”

Some neighbors saw how Bailey acted in front of white folks downtown and reported to Grandmother.

She called us both over and said to Bailey, “Junior”—her nickname for him—“you been downtown showing out? Don’t you know these white folks will kill you for poking fun of them?”

“Momma”—my brother and I often called her that—“all I do is get off the street they are walking on. That’s what they want, isn’t it?”

“Junior, don’t play smart with me. I knew the time would come when you would grow too old for the South. I just didn’t expect it so soon. I will write to your mother and daddy. You and Maya, and especially you, Bailey, will have to go back to California, and soon.”

Bailey jumped up and kissed Grandmother. He said, “I’m Brer Rabbit in the briar patch.”

Even Grandmother had to laugh. The folktale told how a farmer whose carrots the rabbit had been stealing caught Brer Rabbit. The farmer threatened to kill the rabbit and turn him into a stew. The rabbit said, “I deserve that, please kill me, just don’t throw me in that briar patch, please sir, anything but that, anything.”

The farmer asked, “You’re afraid of the briar patch?”

Rabbit, shaking and trembling, said, “Yes, sir, please kill me and eat me, just don’t throw me . . . ”

The farmer grabbed the rabbit by its long ears and threw him into a stand of weeds.

Rabbit jumped up and down. “That’s where I wanted to be all along!”

I knew Bailey wanted to be reunited with his mother, but I was very comfortable with Grandmother Henderson. I loved her and I liked her and I felt safe under the umbrella of her love. I knew that for Bailey’s sake we had to go back to California. Black boys his age who even noticed white girls risked being beaten, bruised, or lynched by the Ku Klux Klan. He had not yet mentioned a white girl, but as he was growing into his manhood, seeing a pretty white girl and being moved by her beauty was inevitable.

I said, “Yes, I’m ready to go.”

3

My grandmother made arrangements with two Pullman car porters and a dining car waiter for tickets for herself, my brother, and me. She said she and I would go to California first and Bailey would follow a month later. She said she didn’t want to leave me without adult supervision, because I was a thirteen-year-old girl. Bailey would be safe with Uncle Willie. Bailey thought he was looking after Uncle Willie, but the truth was, Uncle Willie was looking after him.

By the time the train reached California, I had become too frightened to accept the idea that I was going to meet my mother at last.

My grandmother took my hands. “Sister, there is nothing to be scared for. She is your mother, that’s all. We are not surprising her. When she received my letter explaining how Junior was growing up, she invited us to come to California.”

Grandmother rocked me in her arms and hummed. I calmed down. When we descended the train steps, I looked for someone who could be my mother. When I heard my grandmother’s voice call out, I followed the voice and I knew she had made a mistake, but the pretty little woman with red lips and high heels came running to my grandmother.

“Mother Annie! Mother Annie!”

Grandmother opened her arms and embraced the woman. When Momma’s arms fell, the woman asked, “Where is my baby?”

She looked around and saw me. I wanted to sink into the ground. I wasn’t pretty or even cute. That woman who looked like a movie star deserved a better-looking daughter than me. I knew it and was sure she would know it as soon as she saw me.

“Maya, Marguerite, my baby.” Suddenly I was wrapped in her arms and in her perfume. She pushed away and looked at me. “Oh baby, you’re beautiful and so tall. You look like your daddy and me. I’m so glad to see you.”

She kissed me. I had not received one kiss in all the years in Arkansas. Often my grandmother would call me and show me off to her visitors. “This is my grandbaby.” She would stroke me and smile. That was the closest I had come to being kissed. Now Vivian Baxter was kissing my cheeks and my lips and my hands. Since I didn’t know what to do, I did nothing.

Her home, which was a boardinghouse, was filled with heavy and very uncomfortable furniture. She showed me a room and said it was mine. I told her I wanted to sleep with Momma. Vivian said, “I suppose you slept with your grandmother in Stamps, but she will be going home soon and you need to get used to sleeping in your own room.”

My grandmother stayed in California, watching me and everything that happened around me. And when she decided that everything was all right, she was happy. I was not. She began to talk about going home, and wondering aloud how her crippled son was getting along. I was afraid to let her leave me, but she said, “You are with your mother now and your brother will be coming soon. Trust me, but more than that trust the Lord. He will look after you.”

Grandmother smiled when my mother played jazz and blues very loudly on her record player. Sometimes she would dance just because she felt like it, alone, by herself, in the middle of the floor. While Grandmother accepted behavior so different, I just couldn’t get used to it.

My mother watched me without saying much for about two weeks. Then we had what was to become familiar as “a sit-down talk-to.”

She said, “Maya, you disapprove of me because I am not like your grandmother. That’s true. I am not. But I am your mother and I am working some part of my anatomy off to pay for this roof over your head. When you go to school, the teacher will smile at you and you will smile back. Students you don’t even know will smile and you will smile. But on the other hand, I am your mother. If you can force one smile on your face for strangers, do it for me. I promise you I will appreciate it.”

She put her hand on my cheek and smiled. “Come on, baby, smile for Mother. Come on. Be charitable.”

She made a funny face and against my will, I smiled. She kissed me on my lips and started to cry. “That’s the first time I have seen you smile. It is a beautiful smile. Mother’s beautiful daughter can smile.”

I was not used to being called beautiful.

That day, I learned that I could be a giver simply by bringing a smile to another person. The ensuing years have taught me that a kind word or a vote of support can be a charitable gift. I can move over and make another place for another to sit. I can turn my music up if it pleases, or down if it is annoying.

I may never be known as a philanthropist, but I certainly want to be known as charitable.

I was beginning to appreciate her. I liked to hear her laugh because I noticed that she never laughed at anyone. After a few weeks it became clear that I was not using any title when I spoke to her. In fact, I rarely started conversations. Most often, I simply responded when I was spoken to.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 60 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 18, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Mom & Me & Mom is a grand and beautifully written book.

    Mom & Me & Mom is a grand and beautifully written book. Maya Angelou is a truly gifted writer and her story is a heartfelt and honest one.

    22 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 20, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the best books of the year!

    One of the best books of the year!

    19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Mom is Magnetic I received this book free from NetGalley in exc

    Mom is Magnetic

    I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
    How have I gone through my entire life without having read Maya Angelou yet?! I can’t believe that I have been missing out on such greatness all of this time and no one saw fit to tell me this (other than Oprah, that is). But now that I’ve read her (thanks to NetGalley, who gave it to me for free in exchange for an honest review), I can say with absolute certainty that I am going to read all of the books in her autobiographical series. I’m not sure if this one is part of her series or not, but it’s a memoir that chronicles Maya’s relationship with her mother.
    Abandoned as young children by their unprepared mother, Vivian Baxter, Maya and her brother lived for a decade with their grandmother. When they became and age where being a black man in the south could be problematic, Maya and Bailey moved to California to live with the mother who had abandoned them.
    The book highlights the struggles between Maya and her mother, and, ultimately, their mutual understanding, respect, and love for each other. Reading about Maya Angelou’s mother leaves the reader little doubt that Maya would grow up to be such a powerful and influential figure. Her mother was strong, willful, and read to protect herself and her family at any cost.  She taught Maya that a reputation is the most important thing a person has going for them, and to make sure that if you, “say it in the closet.. be prepared to say it on the city hall steps.”




    This short and powerful book is a great read, especially for mothers and daughters. I don’t think I can give this book the justice it deserves, so I will quote Maya in her description of her mother’s influence on her and hope the enormity of the words is enough to make you run out and pick up a copy:
    “My mother’s gifts of courage to me were both large and small. The latter are woven so subtly into the fabric of my psyche that I can hardly distinguish where she stops and I begin.”

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Maya Angelou is such an incredibly gifted writer. Her story sing

    Maya Angelou is such an incredibly gifted writer. Her story sings of honesty and heartfelt emotion. I highly recommend this book.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I love the writing of Maya Angelou. Her command of words is awe

    I love the writing of Maya Angelou. Her command of words is awe inspiring. This book is a bit of a departure from what Maya Angelou is most well known for, but the story flows fluently and effectively.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    Amiyah

    Im 11 and this book is my favorite i always loved this book love it everybody should

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    Wonderful

    So much to learn and discover!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2013

    Heartwarming and touching

    This was a simple story of growing up and acceptance. The book lacked details but was told from the heart.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Delightful

    This is an easy read. As usual, with Maya Angelou, it does good for the soul. It also reveals a few more painful secrets about her life. It is a wonder she survived. Read the book and give yourself a potent reminder to go hug and kiss all those motherly women in your world.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    Anyone who has read Maya Angelou's wonderful Why the Caged Bird

    Anyone who has read Maya Angelou's wonderful Why the Caged Bird Sings comes to this book with high expectations. You will be sorely disappointed. One is left wondering why Ms. Angelou bothered to write this book in which she either gives a gloss to some hard facts and people or simply chooses to leave much out and the reader scratching his or her head. It seems that the praise heaped on this book is simply fond memories of her past work and a reluctance to criticise someone's work who has become such a well-known and popular figure.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Great light read on an amazing journey through life

    I saw this author on a Sunday Morning New show interview and it struck my interest. It didn't disappoint me at all. This is a factual story about this woman's life who grew up in not the best of circumstances and shows how she loved her mom inspite of how her mom didn't give her the best childhood experience but had a loving grandmother. The maturity of this little girl allowed her to handle every situation she encountered and built on it to become the strong, highly educated woman she is today. Anyone who feels sorry for themselves and feels they didn't get a fair shake....should read this book and see how you can create one's own successes. There is no word for Maya Angelou except "amazing". The world could use more of her.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended, according to my mother

    I got this book for my mom for Mother's Day & she just started it, but so far she says she really loves it. I intend on borrowing it when she finishes it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2013

    Excellent

    I purchased this book for my Nook and could not put it down.
    It was once again an excellent book from Maya Angelou.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 21, 2013

    A wonderfully written masterpiece. Five stars!

    A wonderfully written masterpiece. Five stars!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2013

    Always love Maya.

    Always love Maya.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2014

    Mom & Me & Mom

    Easy read.
    Provided reflections of my relationship with my mom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    GREAT!!!!!

    Awesome book
    R I P
    MAYA ANGELOU!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    Mommy i love you

    Mommy i love you so much

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2014

    To RIP

    I live her too very much that book is wonderfulllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    Aidan

    Oh, okay. I love you

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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