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I have long thought that I might read something by Maya Angelou and the time has arrived. As well as poetry, essays and children's books she has written her autobiography in six parts, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – where else would I begin?
This volume tells the story of her, at times dysfunctional, childhood in 1930's America. At the age of three, along with her four-year-old brother, she arrives in Stamps, Arkansas to live with her paternal grandmother and uncle, after the separation of her parents. Home is now the rear of the Store, owned by her grandmother, in the heart of the Negro area of town. It is here that she encounters poverty, hardship and discrimination, but also joy, achievement and celebration. Later in life the siblings move back to live with their mother in California and enter a completely different world.
This is a very well written and interesting book, although it does at times make for uncomfortable reading, but some of the lessons the author learned back then still hold true today, particularly this one, with reference to social media e.g. 'Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with the deeper shades of meaning.'