Women Writers Reading Challenge #39: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


In 8th grade when the other group of kids (in the other English class) was reading this book, we read The Outsiders, which is a fine book, but it doesn’t really hold a candle to Maya Angelou. I always felt that by not getting to read this book I was missing out, so I had to read it for this challenge.

Reading it now, I’m not sure why they assigned it in middle school. The book is really good, quite emotionally stirring with interesting (and intense) subject matter, but the ending seems like it would be very unsatisfying to a 13/14 year old since it leaves you with so many questions.

I’m very glad that I read this classic autobiography, which if you didn’t read it in school is very much worth reading. Angelou’s writing is good enough that the story flows like fiction and the subject matter gives you a lot to think about. It does stop when Angelou is about 16, so if you’re looking for a glimpse of how she became a writer, you’ll only get the smallest of them from this book. Rich and vibrant, this memoir is not to be missed.

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