`I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings' is the first part of Maya Angelou's six volume autobiography and looks at her life as a black child growing up in pre war America. She spends her time between the town of Stamps in the south and St Louis and California and is moved between her mother and grandmother for much of her childhood. Her grandmother gives her discipline, love, stoicism and devout belief in the lord and her mother gives her a belief in herself and a wild love of life. Maya has to deal with the various tribulations of growing up in a racist country during a time of cultural upheaval, as well as the terrible ordeal of being raped at the hands of one of her mothers boyfriends. She copes with all life throws at her with bravery and fortitude. This also focuses on the relationship she has with her brother, Bailey, and how they supported one another though the toughest times of their childhood. This book truly reads like a novel and Maya's style is beautiful and richly descriptive, so much so that at times you forget you are reading an autobiography. The world Maya paints for us can seem hostile and scary and yet you finish the book with a sense of hope and positivity. This is a profoundly moving book, that is exceptionally well written and is well worth a read at some point, even if you aren't a fan of biographies.
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