April 05, 2013

Mom + Me + Mom by Maya Angelou Book Review

The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.

For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom and Me and Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.
Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom + Me + Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise from immeasurable depths to reach impossible heights.

My Thoughts:
Angelou has a way with words like none other.  Whether she's penning a poem, a speech, being interviewed or what she does best...writing a book, Angelou has a gift for connecting with  readers and hearers of her words.  Mom + Me + Mom is her latest memoir and a very personal account of her relationship with her mother.  Mother / daughter relationships can be quite complicated and Angelou's relationship with her mother was undoubtedly full of complications stemming with feelings of abandonment and absence.  Yet, Angelou finds healing by writing of her experiences.  Not forgiveness, but healing.  Her relationship with her mother appears to be one born out of respect not admiration.  She writes as if the pint size woman who birthed her was a bit devoid of showing emotion.  As I read I wondered more about the relationship "Lady", the name she affectionately gave her mother, had with her own mother, the woman who raised Angelou and her brother for several years in a small town in Arkansas before moving in with Lady and her husband to the bustling San Francisco.

Mom + Me + Mom is another glimpse into Angelou's past.  She, through her stories, shares just enough of her upbringing to keep readers like myself engaged.  Yes, some passages in the book were familiar, but I attribute that to the fact that I have been a fan of Angelou's for several years.  However, this is a tale of another facet of Angelou's upbringing.  Heartaches abound, but overall a message of hope and triumph and resolution.  Angelou seems to use her gift of storytelling to make amends with her past.  Truly a must read.

Disclosure:  I received no compensation in exchange for this review.  I purchased my copy of this book.  The thoughts expressed above are mine.  Click here for the Disclosure Policy of Three Boys and an Old Lady blog.  The opinions expressed above are 100% my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


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