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Publisher's Summary

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 about love for herself and 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 is a modern American classic that will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read - or listen.
©1969 Maya Angelou (P)2010 Random House
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Critic Reviews

" 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)
“A beautiful book - an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.... Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative.” ( Kirkus Reviews)
“Simultaneously touching and comic.” ( The New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Miss Toni on 06-30-13

Emotional & Powerful

I dont know if I should be admitting this but I am, this was my first Maya Angelou book. I mean, I remember reading this book in early grade school but as a child I could have never grasped the meaning. Reading this story now as an adult I appreciate her honesty. Her narrative tone placed me by her side. I walked with her, laughed with her, hurt with her, and hugged her. This story took me to the place when I questioned my placement in the world and my natural beauty. I applaud Maya Angelou for being ever so brave to share her story. This story has encouraged me to always remain true to myself, seek the guidence of the Lord , and never never lose my faith. Thank you for writing this story.

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23 of 25 people found this review helpful


By Candy Mae Dungca on 07-24-14

loved it!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes, already have. triumph over adversity, an amazing story of the human experience at its worst and very best.

What was one of the most memorable moments of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?

my most memorable was, as children, Maya and her brother Bailey laughing uncontrollably during church service when the preacher's false teeth fell out onto the floor.

What about Maya Angelou’s performance did you like?

her narration colored the story so vividly that I could often imagine exactly what these places, faces and things would be and feel like.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I felt the highs and lows of the human experience as Maya may have wanted her audience to. I never cried, but surely did laugh when it was funny. I felt a greater appreciation for Ms. Angelou and the amazing light she was to so many, myself included.

Any additional comments?

its a long audiobook, but worth the listen as so much of our life's journey takes twists and turns we can only understand in retrospect, this book shared the hope that we are given life's lemons to make amazing lemonade.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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