I didn’t know that this was an autobiography of Maya Angelou’s childhood. But when I read the summary at the back cover of the book, I already knew that I was going to love it.
The story had a familiar feel to me, it starts with Maya at the age of three, when she and her brother Bailey Jr. were sent to Stamps, Arkansas to live with their grandmother. That first part immediately connected with me. I was never shipped to a far place by my parents, but I did grow up with my grandmother. When they both had to work in the big city, our loving granny was the one who looked after us. The closest being to me when I was a kid was my brother, just like Maya who really had a tight relationship with her brother. We understood each other’s humor, we both liked things that other kids weren’t fond of (like reading), and well, despite the constant “bullying” of my brother, we do love each other.
But this book isn’t about a sad childhood, it’s not a recollection of an adult’s bitterness to her parents for not keeping them. It’s more than that. Just basing on the title of the book ‘the caged bird sings’ is about standing up to racism and having the right to claim one’s identity to be the person they want to be – not by what society dictates. Even if society keeps on knocking her down, she kept standing and continues to sing. It showed the dark side of history when the world still oppressed the poor, the uneducated, and those who were different. But it showed the beauty of being able to achieve what you long to be, of breaking the barriers made by those who think they’re superior. I saw how something beautiful can come out of something tragic.
Inspiring, historical, and courageous. This is Maya Angelou’s child hood in three words.
If you want to check other books by Maya Angelou click here.