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Summary

Maya Angelou's six volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy, achievement, and celebration.

In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother's lover.

"I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it's like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again." (Maya Angelou)

©1969 Maya Angelou (renewed 1997) (P)2011 Random House Inc

What listeners say about I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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My favourite book

I've loved this (the first book in maya angelous autobiography) since childhood. So, I purchased this from audible to listen and experience the story over again. It is narrated by Maya Angelou and very enjoyable. The story is deep and rich. A must read.

23 people found this helpful

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Honest

I read this book some 30 years ago. To hear the story so many years later in Maya Angelous voice was truly amazing. I feel I've been given a gift by her for which I say thank you.

16 people found this helpful

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Such perfect diction and attention to detail

Having read Maya's books myself thirty years ago, it was one of the first audiobooks I bought to listen to on my iPad ,now in my seventies, and I have been delighted to listen to Maya's perfect diction and wonderful attention to the details of The English language , a rare treat these days of sloppy Americanisms and ubiquitous estuarine accent. Her accent and diction immediately add local colour to her story of hardship growing up as a negro child in the Deep South of early twentieth century America in the time of segregation and the Great Depression.

34 people found this helpful

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Great Book Read by A Great Woman

Can't believe it's taken me this many years to read this book. What an interesting story that only goes up to her teens. Can't wait to read the books that follow.

10 people found this helpful

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Absolutely amazing

This was a fantastic listen , read by the author . Full of wisdom and beautiful writing . I shall listen to it again for sure .
Some wonderful quotes to meditate upon . The book really picks up pace in the second half .
Inspiring . Absolutely amazing .

9 people found this helpful

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Excellent chance to read this autobiography!!

Would you listen to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings again? Why?

Not this one but other books of Maya Angelou's, yes :)

Who was your favorite character and why?

Marguerite/Maya, coz she's an inspiration!

Which character – as performed by Maya Angelou – was your favourite?

Herself

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

All but it was a real eye opener 're segregation in the South, only Vanilla ice cream allowed on Fourth July to black people , really!!! :(

Any additional comments?

Will read more of her .

6 people found this helpful

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Wonderful book !

I absolutly adore an autobiography that takes you back in time and along on a Journey. Maya Angelou was a remarkable Lady who lived many lives and had a very true, very real up bringing that not only paints the reality of what life was like back then but is also relatable today. I had a wonderful time and I'm glad it's only book n°1.

3 people found this helpful

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A story that makes you think.

A fabulous story read by the author about growing up in segregated America. You can not but help be drawn into the story.

3 people found this helpful

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Rather disappointing

For such a respected author I felt it was quite badly written with an overly florid style
I’m not a great reader of memoirs but this seemed be more a collection of dreams or short stories some of which were interesting and others were tedious and dull. The rape scene is excellently crafted though is sadly the only part of such high quality
I was particularly unsettled by memories of the very young Angelou as to how such detail could be recalled. Whilst accepting these were as she remembered them but in certain chapters she inserts clearly researched events (eg Louis v Carnera) and uses them for her own ends (Louis was not World Champ at that point)
The last third of the book rushes through teenage years and is somewhat ridiculous at times, particularly the pages of her driving a car for the first time for 50 miles of winding road only to subsequently have an accident when the car is parked in relatively safe surroundings.
If this were a novel it fails to grip and as autobiography the book seems keener to persuade through unbelievable stereotypes than authentic memories

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Tuneless song

I listened hoping for a time when I could engage with this story but sadly it lacked that opportunity.
The story was the sad tale of a human being let down by any nurturing influence in her life. The undercurrent of inherant fear of "white folk", the culture of her day, barely accounted for the tale of her sorrows. Her parents, and even her "righteous" grandmother's inability to nurture her seemed to shape this shadow girl. She appeared to be a victim, not so much of her race but of dissfunctional parenting.
I never heard this caged bird sing. A melancholic gravely diatribe portraid a sad and depressed child/adult.
The monotone narration did nothing to breath life into the long sad tale.
If she knew why the caged bird sang then she kept that secret to herself.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-10-21

Thanks Maya for sharing your story

Loved it. Maya Angelou has the most serene voice I have heard. Just listening to her narrate her story was therapeutic.

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  • Berkley Neely
  • 31-08-21

engaging and powerful.

I enjoyed this book tremendously, she tells her strong so bravely and marks out the beginning of her life's word to greatness

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-02-21

I loved everything about it.

Beautiful storytelling, her voice was so soothing it reminded me of my own grandmother.

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  • Brad
  • 13-04-20

Amazing, as expected.

A classic. A must listen from the legend herself. I highly recommend this audio.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-02-20

Beauitful and raw

Beautifully written, raw account of an incredible woman’s life whose words and wisdom have touched so many.

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  • Fionn Rogan
  • 08-12-19

Simply extraordinary

Never moved as much by a story, never have I encountered such a reading. Maya Angelou’s story and voice are soul stirring and riveting.

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  • Jennifer Elliott
  • 26-01-19

A must read!

There is poetry in every sentence - I hung on every word! Listen learn and enjoy.