Book Reviews of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Author: Maya Angelou
ISBN-13: 9780553380019
ISBN-10: 055338001X
Publication Date: 5/12/1997
Pages: 304
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 54

3.9 stars, based on 54 ratings
Publisher: Bantam
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

58 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

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Helpful Score: 4
This is one of my all time favorites. It was a required reading in Jr. High and it affected me emotionally then. Now, as an adult at 47, I purchased it to read again. I still feel the emotional roller coaster over the hard and cruel life that Maya (Marguerite) faced as a child. But she managed to survive and master her emotions to become a strong independent woman very early in life. By sharing her life story she has become a shining beacon for others, to show no matter how down-trodden, hopeless, alone or abandoned you may feel, if you dig deep within yourself you have the power to endure, persevere, and overcome. She is an outstanding icon to women everywhere.
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Helpful Score: 3
Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California--where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever. Marvelously told, with Angelou's "gift for language and observation," this "remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant."
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Helpful Score: 3
A wonderfully written and insightful autobiography about a part of Angelou's life. Her spirit shines through and serves as a model to all who become acquainted with her.
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Helpful Score: 2
Maya presents the characters and story of this book through an interesting perspective. Very readable. The story makes a person reflect on their time growing up and its future ramifications.
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Helpful Score: 2
First of Angelou's autobiographies, covering her childhood split between the rural home of her grandmother in Arkansas and the California big-city home of her mother. Angelou writes unsparingly of her childhood sexual assault and her adolescent doubts about her own sexuality. But the most luminous sections of the book deal with her reminiscences of the interconnected web of the black community at her grandmother's home, particularly their strong religious beliefs.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is one of my favorite books of all time.

a wonderfully written story about Angelou's life.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is the first book I've read by Maya...well, not including just some that had poems in them. I really enjoyed it and am going to read the rest of her's as well. It tells the story of her life. I've always known who she was and loved her poetry, but it really let me in on other things about her. Things I never would have guessed. And she tells her story beautifully.
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Helpful Score: 1
This dear, warm, intelligent woman has touched the soul and shattered the hearts of so many of us. I'm just glad that I'm on the planet in the same time span she is. The world is a far better place for having Ms. Maya in it.
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Helpful Score: 1
A sad but nice book about the strength of woman in surpressed lives.
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Helpful Score: 1
An excellent book by Maya Angelou. Very thought provoking and touching.
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Helpful Score: 1
I have read and taught this book many times. Other than some possilby questionable material (in term of students' age-appropriateness) I would highly recommend this book.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is the first book in Ms. Angelou's autobiography. While I enjoyed all of her volumes of autobiography - after all, she's lived a fastinating life - this is my favorite. Probably one of my top 25 of all-time favorite books. Unlike so many other autobiographies, this one is written by a truly great writer, and thus, is a true pleasure to read. I predict that after reading this first installment of Ms. Angelou's life, you will want to continue reading her other autobiographical books.
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Helpful Score: 1
A phenomenal #1 bestseller that has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three years, this memoir traces Maya Angelou's childhood in a small, rural community during the 1930s. Filled with images and recollections that point to the dignity and courage of black men and women,
Angelou paints a sometimes disquieting, but always affecting picture of the people--and the times--that touched her life.
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Helpful Score: 1
i love her wrirting style, wonderfull book
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I liked this book a lot,but was a little disappointed in the ending. Without giving anything away, it just seemed to come so abruptly. It seemed like there could have been more there. I haven't read any of her other books, so perhaps the last chapter continues in another book.... Nonetheless, it was a quick read and was entertaining. Her writing style was enjoyable.
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Great book! I could read it over and over again.
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Great read! The story moves swiftly through the author's life from age 5 or 6 through age 16, from Arkansas to St. Louis to California to Mexico. This is not only a tremendously entertaining story, but Angelou's writing lends a poetry to her life that makes the terrible things somehow okay, and the good things even better. A stunning portrait of a young southern black girl's place in not only the south, but the greater world beyond it, and a VERY worthwhile read.
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personal account of Angelou's youth
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A young girl grows up in jim crow's south and " the North". Experiencing her mothers partners, her fathers partners ,neighnors both black and white shape a young girls character.
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You will feel her journeys as you read her poetry. Good and bad choices are what we all have in common.
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excellent book
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Excellent book. Maya Anjelou is such a great writer. She tells her sory with humor and compassion
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beautiful and moving autobiography of Maya Angelou, in which the author discovers that you can find beauty in life, despite great hardship and sadness.
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This book was alright, it reads pretty slowly and it's not a very exciting read. It's a good insight into her life, good if there is nothing much else to do.
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So enjoyed--will be looking for more of her work!
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Let me start out by saying that i love Maya Angelou as a person. I have watched her speak and i think she is an amazing woman but this book is boring. I had high expectations for this book because its considered such a great piece of American Literature but as i began to read it, i wondered why. I must admit, im gray when it comes to this book. There are some parts that bored me to death but there were some parts that i thought were really beautiful and insightful. I personally wouldn't want to read this book again but I am glad that i took the time this summer to read it.
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this is the contiuing story of the author's incredible life.is very interesting to read them in order as i did.
this book is the most famous of the series
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The first volume of the five volumes that make up the autobiographical work of one amazing and facinating woman, Maya Angelou.

James Baldwin probably said it best "I know that not since the days of my childhood, when people in books were more real than the people one saw every day, have I been so moved".

Truly a compelling look into a side of life many of us are completely unfamiliar with. Well done!
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Great book.
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Excellent!!! I can't wait to read more of Ms. Angelou's writings. Her vivid and rich descriptions of her early childhood in rural Arkansas with her brother, grandmother and uncle in the 1930's capture a time a place I had only heard about in hushed tones. The brief year in Saint Louis with her mother's family was violent and confusing to the eight year old girl and made her wise beyond her years. She was ready to go when she returned to the safety and protection of "Momma" in Arkansaw for another few years. The move to live with her mother and brother in San Francisco took her into another world altogether that enriched her experience of family and her love for learning. You have to read this autobiographical journey of self discovery!
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Maya Angelou is a poet. The novel is simple poetry. From the back cover: James Baldwin writes: This book liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity. I have no words for this achievement, but I know that not since the days of my childhood, when the people in books were more real than the people one saw every day, have I found myself so moved.
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Fantastic must read book! I can't believe it took me so long to find it! I can hardly wait to read her other books.
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This beautifully written account of Maya Angelou's own life and experiences was published in 1971 before she was a nationally known poet.
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From Amazon.com:
In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California--where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever. Marvelously told, with Angelou's "gift for language and observation," this "remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant."
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Ms. Angelou writes with great feeling and humor. Hard to believe how much she was able to put into 246 pages. I know I must have some prejudice and hope by reading her books to better understand myself and the feelings of Afican-Americans. The prejudice's are not all one sided. Hopefully with her help we will learn to get along.
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One of Maya Angelou's accounts of her struggles and triumphs in her life.
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Really a must-read. Wonderful book.
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Maya Angelou's childhood in the South as well as in CA. Heart-warming and also a tear-jerker. I loved it.
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In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California--where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever. Marvelously told, with Angelou's "gift for language and observation," this "remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant."
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Now I know why so many people LOVE this book. Read it.
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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the first of seven memoirs that Maya Angelou wrote. This book tells of her life from childhood to the age of seventeen - the years 1928 to 1945. The story is a harsh and sad one, dealing with poverty, racism, abandonment, rape, sexual abuse, and teenage pregnancy. It is inspirational not in its writing but in the fact that Maya Angelou had courage to live this life, to move forward from the events described, and to tell the story in such a public way.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/i-know-why-caged-bird-sings.html
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Well written autobiography of a young, black American girl's life growing up in the segregated 30's and 40's.
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Touchingly told touching life.
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thoughtfully written, this is a very moving story of this remarkable woman's life. I had the privilege of hearing her speak and tell much of this story. America has lost a great treasure with her passing.
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I read this book for the first time in college and after reading it the second time, I enjoyed this book at a different level. What an amazing woman!
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This book liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity. Her portrait is a Biblical study of life in the midst of death.
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I enjoyed learning about her childhood. She was an innocent, yet spunky little girl. The book is sad, educational, and funny.
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Holy rushed ending Batman. Yet, I am glad I didn't read this as a much younger woman, for I surely would not have appreciated Angelou's choice of words as I did now.
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"Simultaneously touching and comic."--The New York Times
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I did not like Maya Angelou's book. I thought it was a little too graphic.
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This is a book that has been on the banned list for years. Do you know why? Read it & find out! A riveting read by an even more extraordinary Woman! Thank you Maya Angelou for speaking the truth!
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From the back cover..."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."
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It's Maya Angelou, need I say more?
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"Simultaneously touching and comic."
-NY Times
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From book cover:

James Baldwin writes:...."This testimony from a black sister marks the beginning of a new era in the minds and hearts and lives of all black men and women...

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. I have no words for this achievement, but I know that not since the days of my childhood, when the people in books were more real than the people one saw every day, have I found myself so moved....Her portrait is a biblical study of life in the midst of death."
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"This testimony from a Black sister marks the beginning of a new ear in the minds and hearts and lives of all Black Men and Women..."
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this testimony from a black author marks the beginning of a new era in the minds and hearts and lives of all Black men and women
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Book is a 1971 printing. Please do not expect a recent printing.