I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

Original book title: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Author: Maya Angelou
Publisher: The Folio Society, 254 pages
Year of publication: 2000
Format: Hardcover
Language: English

This book is important, in so many ways. It talks about the Afro-Americans difficult and hard life in the USA, it also gives us a young woman’s view of the injustices of her surroundings. It is a masterpiece and I can only admire Maya Angelou’s honesty and courage. It cannot have been easy to write this book, it is brutally honest. There is no doubt that Angelou is a fantastic writer. The language is beautiful and her poetic side shines through in every sentence.

Despite that, I found it hard to get drawn into this book. I thought that the individual stories were both interesting and captivating. We don’t just get to know Angelou, but also her brother, grandmother, and uncle. With meticulous detail, she writes about shame, her family’s thoughts and feelings, but the stories feel abrupt. They don’t melt into each other. Despite that Angelou gives beautiful and heartbreaking details about what she has been through it still becomes difficult to get a full grip of the whole story, in my opinion. The scenes in her life felt more as fragments than an overall view. The reason for this may be as I wrote earlier, the stories end so quickly or I have missed what is written between the lines.

The best thing about this book was clearly the language and how incredibly good Angelou was to describe what she had been through. Her life was full of terrible and difficult situations and she writes about her thoughts and feelings with brutal honesty. Unfortunately, it is precisely the language and honesty that also makes me feel a lack of feeling. Angelou writes about her thoughts and feelings in such an honest and objective way that it lacks sensibility.

Maybe I didn’t like the structure of the book but, I loved the language and I am grateful for having read it.