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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings | [Maya Angelou]

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age - and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. But years later, she learns about love for herself and the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors.
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Publisher's Summary

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash”. At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age - and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime.

Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns about love for herself and the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a modern American classic that will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read - or listen.

©1969 Maya Angelou (P)2010 Random House

What the Critics Say

"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.” (James Baldwin)

“A beautiful book - an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.... Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Simultaneously touching and comic.” (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (513 )
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4.4 (433 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dr. Phyllis Bell Miller Mississippi State, MS (Starkville, MS) United States 08-01-14
    Dr. Phyllis Bell Miller Mississippi State, MS (Starkville, MS) United States 08-01-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Beautifully written tale of growing pains"
    Would you listen to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings again? Why?

    The story is beautifully written. Angelou is a master of description. She paints a masterpiece with words.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?

    Her struggle with her stepmother was very memorable and painful.


    What does Maya Angelou bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Angelou's narration brings her own words to life. Reading the book without that would be an entirely different experience. She brings emotions to the story exactly as she experienced them at the time of the events.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I enjoyed savoring this book over several sittings, although it was interesting enought to drink in at once.


    Any additional comments?

    Angelou was one of the most masterful writers whose work I have ever read. Pairing that skill with a touching story made the book a truly memorable experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KG 07-28-14
    KG 07-28-14
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    "So good."
    If you could sum up I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in three words, what would they be?

    Raw honest writing.


    What does Maya Angelou bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Just hearing the voice of the person who had the experiences in the book adds so much.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candy Mae Dungca 07-24-14
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    "loved it!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes, already have. triumph over adversity, an amazing story of the human experience at its worst and very best.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?

    my most memorable was, as children, Maya and her brother Bailey laughing uncontrollably during church service when the preacher's false teeth fell out onto the floor.


    What about Maya Angelou’s performance did you like?

    her narration colored the story so vividly that I could often imagine exactly what these places, faces and things would be and feel like.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I felt the highs and lows of the human experience as Maya may have wanted her audience to. I never cried, but surely did laugh when it was funny. I felt a greater appreciation for Ms. Angelou and the amazing light she was to so many, myself included.


    Any additional comments?

    its a long audiobook, but worth the listen as so much of our life's journey takes twists and turns we can only understand in retrospect, this book shared the hope that we are given life's lemons to make amazing lemonade.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Fayetteville, GA, United States 07-21-14
    Amazon Customer Fayetteville, GA, United States 07-21-14 Member Since 2012

    Addicted to Audible!

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    "Inspirational!"
    What made the experience of listening to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings the most enjoyable?

    Definitely having the author narrate the book.


    What other book might you compare I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to and why?

    The Color Purple


    Have you listened to any of Maya Angelou’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have listened to her poetry. Never an entire book. It was great! She became every character.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I understood it better with the author reading it. Through her voice I was more aware of how she experienced various situations.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carole Humble Dalton, GA USA 07-10-14
    Carole Humble Dalton, GA USA 07-10-14 Member Since 2012

    Finishing final semester pursuing Bachelor's degree in English.

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    "Interesting life story."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I listened to the book as a school assignment. I actually enjoyed it more than I believed I would. Maya experienced a lot of abuse and mistreatment, but came out stronger on the other side. She never wallowed in self-pity, but moved past her circumstances. It was especially enjoyable that the author performed the audio book, herself. Every line was read the way it was intended.


    Have you listened to any of Maya Angelou’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have never experienced Maya Angelou prior to this, and I must say, I enjoyed hearing about her life's journey.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary MELBOURNE, FL, United States 07-06-14
    Mary MELBOURNE, FL, United States 07-06-14 Member Since 2013

    Tell us about yourself! Love Audible! Listening to a good story on my long commute to work makes the drive awesome.

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    "Narrator's voice was flat at times."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes - insiders view of growing up black in a society governed by hateful whites.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Personal views of author


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    made parts seem boring


    Was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings worth the listening time?

    questionable - the jury is still out


    Any additional comments?

    Just when I thought I couldn't listen anymore something intriguing happened and I continued

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Irene Keller, TX, United States 06-29-14
    Irene Keller, TX, United States 06-29-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Lovely Maya"
    What did you love best about I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?

    The voice of Ms. Angelou.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?

    Of course, the most memorable moment has to be her being molested. It is the moment that the book builds up to and that everything falls down from.


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

    Ritee had such a wonderful relationship with her brother. He was her only real "connective tissue," so to speak. He was the one thing that was always there, whether she was going to live with her grandmother with a note attached to her as a very small girl or being sent back and forth between her parents and grandmother as a growing child, he was the one thing she could always count on. I think he was my favorite because he was a constant.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I re-read this book, this time right after Ms. Angelou died. I think my reaction this time was much less extreme as it was when I read it when I was much younger. I was remembering the times - her childhood and how she was such a strong person, living through so much, and how she got to be that way. This time reading the book, didn't make me laugh as much as smile when she did the things she did. Her determination, for instance, at becoming a money taker on the trolley cars.


    Any additional comments?

    I will miss Maya Angelou's voice so much. She had such a great talent and this book was one I turned to when she died to say goodbye.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth K. Keating 06-17-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Why Audible is Valuable"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Maya Angelou narrates her own classic and brings the story fully to life. This audiobook helps one understand the value of an oral tradition.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph YORK, PA, United States 07-24-14
    Joseph YORK, PA, United States 07-24-14 Member Since 2011

    Commuting 2 hours a day to and from work allows me the pleasure of listening to many books where I would otherwise not have time to read

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    "Blahh"

    That's it, no more audio books narrated by the author. I know that we speak her name, and may she rest in peace, but in my opinion, Maya Angelou's reading of her own work was horrible. It was as if she forgot her reading glasses and was struggling to read the words. I found it very annoying.
    I did not enjoy this book.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 10-20-14
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 10-20-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Go for Mom and Me and Mom"

    Ok, I know, this is the pivotal Maya Angelou, but I honestly love Mom and Me and Mom so much more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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