Samstag, 26. November 2016

[Books] Maya Angelou - Mom & Me & Mom

[Books] Maya Angelou - Mom & Me & Mom

About the book

Title: Mom & Me & Mom author: Maya Angelou publisher: Virago Press 
price: 7,99 € | genre: biographytype: paperbackpages: 195 
ISBN: 978-1-84408-915-4 publication date: 2013 

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"Maya Angelou´s seven volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilence of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope and joy, achievement and celebration. In this, her seventh and finale volume - written the year before she died - she reveals, with honesty and courage, the story of her ultimately rewarding relationship with the mother who sent the three-year old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their Grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. "

First sentence

"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."


"Dr Maya Angelou was one of the world´s most important writers and activists. Born 4 April 1928, she lived and chronicled an extraordinary life: rising from poverty, violence and racism, she became a renowned authur, poet, playwright, civil rights´activist - working with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King - and memoirist. She wrote and performed a poem, ´On the Pulse of Morning´, for President Clinton on his inauguration; she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama and was honoured by more than seventy universities throughout the world. 

She first thrilled the world with I know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). This was followed by six volumes of autobiography, the seventh and final volume, Mom & Me & Mom, published in 2013. She wrote three collection of essays; many volumes of poetry, including His Day is Done, a tribute to Nelson Mandela; and two cookbooks. She had a lifetime appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University of North Carolina. Dr Angelou died on 28 May 2014."

Cover and title

The cover is a warm red with two dark silhouettes. It looks really beautiful and fits perfectly to the book as well as the title. 

My Thoughts

Sadly, Maya Angelou isn´t really popular in Germany. Few books of her were translated into German and while her books are some of the most-read books of all time in America, just a few even know her name here in Germany. We should definetely change this! 

„>You see, baby, you have to protect yourself. If you don´t protect yourself, you look like a fool asking somebody else to protect you.< I thought about that for a second. She was right. A woman needs to support herself before she asks anyone else to support her."

S. 147

I wanted to read "Mom & Me & Mom" after Emma Watson announced, it would be the book of the months November & December for Our Shared Shelf, a Feminist book club I am a member of. Emmas choices of books are always inspiring and so it was just a matter of time til I read it. And the time came sooner than I thought, cause the moment, the book waited on my shelf, I couldn´t get it out of my head. So I started it right after I finished my last fantasy book. 

"Mom & Me & Mom" is the last autobiography of Maya Angelou, published just a year before her death. I didn´t knew her other autobiographies, I didn´t even knew her poetries or other stories, but this was no problem. I had no troubles to follow the story and it was just great to meet Maya Angelou for the very first time. And after this book I will defintely read the other 6 autobiographies and as well her poetries and whatever I can find of her. She is such an important person and fought so hard for the rights of women and blacks - it´s really sad she´s so unknown in this country. 

„Love heals. Heals and liberates. I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins. This book has been written to examine some of the ways love heals and helps a person to climb impossible heights and rise from immeasurable depths."

In her last autobiography Maya Angelou shares her personal relationship between her and her mother. This relationship was filled with abandonment, sadness, but as well love and hope and confidence. Maya Angelou talks about her life without denying anything. She held nothing back. And she was not ashamed of her life. It was a life - full of highs and lows and this was okay. 

„If they were not ready for integration, I was ready to show it to them. Baby, you try to be ready for every situation you run into. Don´t do anything that you think is wrong. Just do what you think is right, and then be ready to back it up even with your life. Make sure that everything you say is two-time talk. That means say it in the closet and be prepared to say it on the city hall steps, and give anybody twenty minutes to draw a crowd. Don´t do it to make news. Do it to make it known that your name is your bond, and you are always ready to back up your name. Not every negative situation can be solved with a threat of violence. Trust your brain to suggest a solutin, then have the courage to follow through."
S. 139

It was inspiring to read about it. Inspiring how this incredible woman got through all those traumatic episodes in her life - racism, rape, violence etc. - and just mentioned to go on. She never gave up. And still this book is so full of love and hope, I never thought would be possible after such terrible experiences.

„Baby, I´ve been thinking and now I am sure. You are the greatest woman I´ve ever met."
S. 78
The writing of Maya Angelou is really comfortable to read and I can highly recommend to read it in English! Even if you can´t speak perfectly English, you can still mentioned to read this book. It´s not translated in German, yet. 

This book is a wonderful, inspiring autobiography full of reconciliation, forgiveness and survival. A book of the love between mother and daughter. A blunt and sometimes even funny type of writing which makes you laugh and cry a lot. This story will not let you go until you finished it - and even then it will haunt you forever. Surely in a good way. It made me thought a lot about myself and my future. About the life, we women can now have - we are blessed, we can be who we are. About the things we still need to fight for - real equality, safety and recognition. We still have a lot to do, but strong women like Maya Angelou made it possible that we have such a good base to fight on. Together we can make a change. Together we can fight for our rights and for the rights of women all over the world. We can fight for their safety and the right of education. We can fight for equality. Together we can do it. Thanks to all those strong women who fought so hard to change the lives of others. Thanks to Maya Angelou. 

„Why do you want to go to sea?" - "Because they told me they wouldn´t let any woman in their union. They suggested that the union certainly would not accept a Negro woman. I told them, ´´You want to bet?´ I will put my foot in their door up to my hip until every woman can get in that union, and can get aboard a ship and go to sea." 
S. 138


A strong and inspiring autobiography of a strong and inspiring woman. A must-read for every woman and every man and a glimmer of hope for our future. She made it through such traumatic experiences and still continued to fight. We can continue to fight as well. We can make the change, the world needs the most. 

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