71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2013
I have been a fan of Maya Angelou's for several years now. So when the opportunity arose to review her latest installment in her collection of memoirs, I knew I just had to read it. After reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I've often wondered about Maya's relationship with her mother and if the two would reconcile and come to terms with past experiences and choices made. When the two are reunited it marks the beginning of a long journey towards acceptance and unconditional love filled with heart-break and laughter along the way. In classic Angelou style, the prose is rhythmic, comforting, and overall inspiring. Angelou reveals many of her own faulty choices in life and proves once again, that we are all human and often we find ourselves doing what needs to be done to get by. However, Angelou clings to her dreams and follows them wherever they may lead her and in the end, it's her mother's love, support, and guidance that sees her through it all. A remarkable story of love between and a mother and a daughter. I would highly recommend this and easily give it FIVE stars!
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Poet and author, Maya Angelou delivers an elegant, inspiring memoir that tugs at the heart. I have been following her poetic creativity, long before I wrote three books of poetry. In fact, it was Maya Angelou who inspired me to explore and share poetic works with several poets, from different walks of life. After reading her unique poetry collections, I began writing poetry on an AOL website. It was there where I shared poetry with many writers, and the great admiration and respect for Maya Angelou was discussed, and enjoyed. Her poetic works not only inspired me, but millions of people world-wide. Her writing style is as impressive as her poetry, and she is one remarkable writer, who published work that will forever live on in the writing world. In this heartfelt memoir, she tells a touching story not only about her achievements, but also about the struggles and conflict she endured throughout her life. When she reveals her true feelings about a void in her life, her parents in a broken relationship and abandonment, one can feel a deep sadness. When she discusses a healing phase of love between two women, one feels a sense of relief. When she describes her journey of reconciliation, one can feel the happiness. Maya Angelou's writing style has always been mesmerizing, because she has a gift, the ability to reach out to others with compassion. This intriguing story will make the reader cry, and smile. Most important, as I've noted from several of her works, her footsteps in the writing world will always leave 'beautiful memories' from this gifted poet. "MOM & ME & MOM" hits home for many who can relate to complicated relationships, dark days in their lives, love, healing and support. This endearing memoir portrays a colorful painting, and the life of Maya Angelou is the portrait. Inspiring, motivating, and touching! Highly recommended!
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2013
I have read very little of Angelou. I started I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings but have not gotten very far. I remember thinking the language of the book was beautiful and the story important, and so I'm not sure what has kept me from it.
While "Caged Bird" tells of Angelou's life in Stamps, Arkansas, with her grandmother and brother, "Mom & Me & Mom" is about the relationship between Angelou and her mother, Vivian Baxter, whom she called Lady. Angelou had been sent to Stamps when she was very young, and she didn't return to live with her mother in California until she was 13. She didn't know her mother when she was sent to Arkansas and wasn't ready to accept her when she returned. But Angelou grew to love her mother, and they had a close relationship until her mother's death.
The first half of the book is called Me & Mom and is about Angelou learning to know what kind of person her mother was and growing to love her. The second half, Mom & Me, is about their relationship after Angelou is an adult. She comes to depend on her mother for support and advice, and later takes care of her near the end of her life. Vivian Baxter was a woman who knew what she wanted and got it, wouldn't compromise her morals, and seemed to live life to the fullest. While what she did might not have always been within the law, it was always done for the purpose of helping others.
I was surprised at how simple the language of this book was. I recall thinking that the writing in "Caged Bird" was lyrical, but this simple English did not have a poetic feel to it. The read was easy and short, just taking a couple of hours to finish. Not having known anything about Maya Angelou except that she was a writer and poet, the story of her life was new to me. Of note is that Angelou was a great reader as a child and did well in school, but that did not keep her from getting pregnant during her senior year and giving birth to her son soon after graduation. That she would go on to be a successful writer, singer and actor and eventually a college teacher made me feel better about choices I have made in my life and that success can follow even poor choices if you accept the choices and move on.
The part of the book that was autobiographical seemed complete and easy to follow. She doesn't explain everything that happens, but we get the gist of how it was to raise her son, her marriage, some of her relationships with men, work, career and going to Wake Forest. The story of her mother, though, had many gaps. For instance, at one time Angelou says that her mother was going to join the merchant marines, but we don't know if that happened or not. She refers to some organizations her mother was a member of, such as Stockton Black Women of Humanity, but I would have liked to hear more about those.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2013
The title told me that I would cling to every word written. Maya`s Mother taught her to survive. I`ve always enjoyed Maya`s style of writing. I would recommend this book to all my friends and family.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2013
An incredibly open and honest look at a difficult relationship. Not all women are meant to be Mothers. Some mothers come into their stride later in life. Relationships are difficult, but honesty between two people can bring love back where only pain lived before.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2014
I had literally finished reading this book on early morning of her passing. Loved the book, and will truly miss Dr. Angelou, may she forever Rest In Peace.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This book is a series of memories, feelings, and episodes. Despite its lack of specificity, you get the understanding that Vivian Baxter was quite a woman.
As suggested by the book's mere 198 short pages (it can be read in 3 hours), a lot is left unsaid.
The vignettes appear to be chronological, but there are big gaps in time between. There are only a few stories and in most, key information is missing. While the book is intended to be subjective, the omissions are too constant to be ignored. What was it about the fight over her friend's shoplifting that triggered Vivian's arrest? How did Vivian become so comfortable with guns? Of all Vivian's unexplained careers and career changes, the most intriguing curiosity is how did it happen that she owned a casino in Nome, Alaska?
Sadly the clearest episode is that of the visit to her father.
There are a lot of positive reader reviews for this book. I think they are more for Maya Angelou, than for this particular book.
I'd like to read a biography of Vivian Baxter... she clearly deserves a full treatment.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2014
This book gives you insight into Maya's childhood. You understand why she is the person we all know and love. You laugh, cry and shake your head at the events in her life.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2013
The mother daughter relationship can be one of the more complicated relationships in life; I have experienced its complications with my own mother and sometimes experience it with my daughters.
Maya's mom appears atypical - but at the heart of it all, she was simply a woman trying to do the best with what she was entrusted. Early on when Maya and her brother were 3 and 5 respectively, her mother sent them to her mother to be raised, because she did not know what she was doing. When they were about 13 and 15 they were sent back up north in California to reunite with their mother. I did not know that Maya Angelou's foundation was in Northern California.
Maya was very upfront with mother for being abandoned and her mother accepted it; she apologized. That was the start of the rich display of a mother's love. Her mother supported her in any endeavor she attempted. When she became a mother at 15, her mother was very practical about the whole thing - "Do you love him? No; no use in ruining three lives then." To her mother, this was a slight inconvenience, not an opportunity for scandal.
Maya Angelou has a beautiful economy of words; her sentences are short and to the point, but joined together they tell a rich story. Maya's mom was a dynamo, and with Maya back in her life she remained a dynamo. Her mom, Vivian Baxter, was admired by most of San Francisco's black community. If it had not been for her mother's love and total acceptance and respect on both sides, we may have never heard of Maya Angelou. Her mother told her, you are one of the greatest women I have ever met, and that was not an empty sentiment.
"Baby, I've been thinking and now I'm sure, you are the greatest woman I've ever met. You are very kind and very intelligent and those elements are not always found together. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune and my mother - yes you belong in that category. Here give me a kiss." That is just a powerful statement.
There are many other examples in the book of the mother daughter dance to total acceptance and love for each other.
This book was written to examine some of the ways love heals and helps a person to climb impossible heights and rise from immeasurable depths. I hope I can inspire my children as Maya Angelou's mom did.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2014
Read from May 16 to 24, 2014
Another Maya Angelou book that I just adore and love!
This one is about her relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter, and the things they went through together from her teen years through the death of her mother.
It is beautifully written as all of her books are. It is written in a way that has you fall in love with her mother and wish you had a mother like her, even through those times she wasn't showing her best side. I really did enjoy seeing the pictures of her mother and how beautiful she is.
She spoke of the relationship between herself and her brother, her brother and their mother and her mother's husbands(two). There were other situations spoke of in the book as well.
She (Maya) spoke of the issues she dealt with when it came to her own relationships with men, the birth of her son and a little about Guy's(her son) father.
But again, most of this book was centered around the relationship between her and her mother Vivian.
One of my favorite things in the book was when Maya and Vivian were discussing the relationship between Maya & her husband at the time, Tosh and Vivian was giving Maya advice:
"It is normal," she said. "And although it is painful, imagine if you had allowed Tosh to take the sense of your person away. Guy would have lost the person he needs the most, his mother. for the sake of yourself, you must preserve yourself and for the sake of guy, you must preserve his mother"
That part, touched me the most out of the whole book, but there were many other areas in the book that touched me. The whole book itself is just an amazing love story between mother and daughter that may have started off a little weird but by the end, it was just so amazing and beautiful! A must read if you love Maya Angelou and/or you just want a touching story between mother and daughter! This will be another book that will be added to my shelf, along with all of her other books that I have read and have not yet bought! And even ones I haven't read, I will read and add to my shelf as well!
Four days after I completed this book (5/24/14), the beautiful Maya Angelou passed (5/28/14). It was such a heartbreaking "shock" (the shock was more in the timing of her death than anything, I understand she is an older woman) for me; to finish this book then to lose her so soon afterwards, when my feelings were still raw in my mind and heart about this book. I remember a part in the book when she was speaking of her mother passing and her going to her mothers hospital room, holding her hand and letting her know that she gave her permission to let her go. That's one of the thoughts I immediately thought of when she passed. Right around the time I finished the book, a thought occurred to me that she was going to be leaving this earth soon. My immediate thought? No! Not Yet! I'm Not Ready For Her To Go! The next thought? When she is ready to let go and leave this earth, let her go! It will be her time!..So I did.
Now many may think:
What gives You that right to think that when you never even met her!?!?
Well, because I've known of her since at least my early teens, but I really don't remember a time that I didn't know who she was. I have adored her since I could remember..And I the more I read her poetry and her books, the more I began to respect, love and look up to her as Mother, Auntie, Grandmother, Elder, Common Sense, and Wisdom in human form! And in all that, I knew she wasn't perfect, but she was and is still a Phenomenal Woman who did and was still Rising above her flaws and inner "battles" like the rest of us.
She was the extended Motherly figure the Most High put in my distant path to learn from. To Love. To Adore. To look up to! To achieve for in my own personal life. Not to be like her per say, but to use her example to grow into that same Phenomenal Woman she was and not allow my own personal issues stop me from loving me..even if I never have the body type others think I should have. Even if I never look like others think I should (which neither I strive to achieve, I will strive for health, not body type..I will strive for inner beauty, not outer. The inner always shines out anyway right?)
I did not mean to make this into a "journal" moment but I just wanted to share what Ms. Maya Angelou did for me personally. And what I know she has done for others as well.
Thank you for reading all of this! :-)