Here is a book as joyous and painful، as mysterious and memorable، as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children، the brute insult of bigotry، and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.
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 that love for herself، 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 will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.
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.
“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
"The caged bird "sings of freedom"، writes Maya Angelou in her poem "Caged Bird" – a poignant recurring image throughout her work، as she eloquently explores the struggle to become liberated from the shackles of racism and misogyny. This evocative first volume of her six books of autobiography، originally published in 1969 (1984 in the UK)، vividly depicts Angelou's "tender years" from the ages of three to 16، partly in the American south during the depression-wracked 1930s، while also offering timeless insights into the empowering quality of books." — the guardian
"Her writing through intense solitude — a solitude whose conditions she set for herself — allowed the harrowing “Caged Bird” to emerge." — seattle times
"Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood." Her story is told in scenes، ineluctably moving scenes، from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps، Arkansas، and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl، being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynchingâ€”and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions، there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end، when she's sixteen، the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children، Negroes and the crippled was still in effect." However charily one should apply the word، a beautiful book، an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time." — kirkus reviews