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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Mass Market Paperback – Apr 21 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 282 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (April 21 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345514408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345514400
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.1 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 282 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

If your originals of these two popular titles (LJ 9/1/78, LJ 3/15/70, respectively) have seen better days, these reprints offer affordable, high-quality replacements.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
May I tell you why I choose to have my ninth grade students read it? I have noticed a lot of reviews by young people, which I applaud, but an adult perspective might be helpful.
I don't particularly feel the need to defend its merits. (I am not articulate enough to do justice to that task.) As with any book, some will love it and some won't. Guaranteed, it will make you uncomfortable at times, because one chapter describes the rape of a young person--which is painful for any compassionate human being to hear. Plus, there are other sexual issues, largely stemming from the earlier assault, but also because she is a teenager in the last phase of the book. Such questions about love and sex are characteristic of the teenage years. Many young people, as well as adults, are confused about such topics. While these are generally the most controversial segments from the book, the fundamental lesson of the book goes far beyond the survival of one victim. I won't supply you with the answers as to what one should take away from the text. It is a personal experience for each of us.
We can all learn from Maya's honest account of her childhood journey. We can all try on her experiences and live vicariously through her for a while, and see how it changes our own perspective on what it means to be a human being.
I'll be the first to admit, this book is a challenge for all my students in one way or another. Some because they are white and live in the northern US. Some because they are male and it's difficult to view life through a woman's eyes. Some because of the adult vocabulary and extensive use of figurative language. Some of these experiences are so remote from their own, while others are very close to home.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book after discovering the passing of the author, and the praise she had received for her writing, so I decided to see what she had to offer.
I really enjoyed this book and the fact that she gave the book a narrative that felt more like a story than a autobiography. She felt like both a character and a real person.
I found some of it to be a little drab at times, including information that went on for a little too long. Some descriptions just dragged.
However, what I'm sure the author is most likely famous for are the memorable and enlightening quotes that she creates through the book that really makes you think. Most of her descriptions are very well done and paint a clear picture. She allows the reader into a life of oppression and struggle that many people wouldn't have been able to be a part of otherwise. She manages to write her story through a very honest yet positive mindset which is admirable and strong. I feel like many people can relate to the book mainly because she doesn't keep parts out that may make her look bad or seem silly. She skips around so that you focus on the biggest aspects of her life.
I felt enthralled by this book, and when it ended I just wanted to read more. I felt like I wanted to read until she was aged and old. It was a very good and insightful book and I would recommend it to others easily.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Maya is a very incredible writer. Her words float off your tongue while you read her work. I never read anything by Maya before so I was very amazed while reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. You would think you were reading a novel instead of a biography. She has an interesting style of writing. Maya tells you how it was growing up in the 50s and 60s. Maya didn't have people that loved her outside her family. Her family even showed their love in such odd ways. Maya parents sent her and her brother Bailey away to live with their grandmother when they were five and six. The only person that Maya felt really loved her was her older brother Bailey. Maya tried to find love but she looks in the wrong places. She faced many obstacles during her childhood days, which she talks about in the book. Maya worked her way around them to become the strong person she is today. I think this book is a good inspiration for anyone who had to go through what Maya went through. I admire her because she faced so many struggles and she became a successful person in life. Maya lets me know never to give up because you never know where you're going to end up unless you keep going. I recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a good author as well as a book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had never heard of the author, until her death. Something made me want to learn about her. Our backgrounds are nothing alike. I was a Saskatchewan farm girl, not rich but not poor either. Yet somehow we have so many things in common. I identify with her. We both lived very much inside our own heads. Neither of us was prepared to accept what was expected and accepted by everyone else, including our own families. I am the second of five girls, but nothing like my sisters in the way I see the world. I love them,but no one in my family (except perhaps my father understands how I think and feel). Like the author, being a good student and making my own opportunities to get an education became my way forward. Despite also becoming a mother at seventeen, I learned that you do get out of life in proportion to what you are prepared to put in. No one can do it for you. Faith, however you define it, also plays an important role. You will never know what you can do until you try. Don't give up on what you want just because no one has ever done it before. Become your own "black conductress".
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