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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • Performance
  • Story

Emotional & Powerful

I dont know if I should be admitting this but I am, this was my first Maya Angelou book. I mean, I remember reading this book in early grade school but as a child I could have never grasped the meaning. Reading this story now as an adult I appreciate her honesty. Her narrative tone placed me by her side. I walked with her, laughed with her, hurt with her, and hugged her. This story took me to the place when I questioned my placement in the world and my natural beauty. I applaud Maya Angelou for being ever so brave to share her story. This story has encouraged me to always remain true to myself, seek the guidence of the Lord , and never never lose my faith. Thank you for writing this story.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • SydSavvy
  • PARIS, TX, United States
  • 10-20-14

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Michael
  • Rochester, MN, United States
  • 06-28-12

I love Maya Angelou!

What a joy it was to listen to Maya Angelou narrate her story! The book is wonderful, and to have her narrate it made it amazing. I was sad when the book ended because I wanted to go on listening to her voice.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

a much loved book

If you could sum up I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in three words, what would they be?

overcome

What did you like best about this story?

the details of her life growing up

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

Dr. Angelou's voice telling her own story cannot be surpassed. However, it felt like she may have recorded the narrative more recently, as her narrative sometimes fumbles, almost as if she's not reading her own words. But wouldn't trade her voice for anyone else.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • C.C.
  • WILMINGTON, DE, United States
  • 09-08-13

Really good book!

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

Maya Angelou was reading the book.

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

N/A

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

Her GrandMother.

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

It made me laugh and made me upset sometimes. I don't want to give to much detail of the book.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Just like listening to Grandma tell you stories

If you could sum up I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in three words, what would they be?

Real<br/>Horrific<br/>Delightful<br/>

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the glimpses allowed into the mind of Maya, the way she thought, the way she saw the world.

Which scene was your favorite?

"Preach it!"

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

Several moments in this book were life-changing for Maya, but hearing her tell them was life-changing for me.

Any additional comments?

It's difficult to hear of the hardships and struggles of a young girl, but it is also good to see the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Brad
  • Wyoming, MI, United States
  • 07-19-12

What a story.

If you could sum up I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in three words, what would they be?

An amazing story.

What did you like best about this story?

The story of Maya's early life was pretty amazing.

What aspect of Maya Angelou’s performance would you have changed?

Her performance wasn't perfect, but it worked.

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

Yes.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Maya Angelou's story.

Where does I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I found it very interesting. However, I would give it a six on a scale of 1-10.

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

Lately, I have read "Unbroken" and "The Boys in the Boat." I could compare this book to Zamperini or Ranjic in the aforementioned books. Maya Angelou had a tough start and so did both of these individuals.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration was poor. I felt Maya Angelou swallowed her words and it was difficult to hear what she was saying

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

When she drove the car in Mexico. A scared girl and what amounts to an abusive parent.<br/>The other part was when she became pregnant with her son. She struck me as a very confused, abused youngster.<br/>

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Couldn't have loved it more!

Would you consider the audio edition of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to be better than the print version?

I have only heard the audio edition, but I can't imagine reading it myself. It was so great to hear Maya Angelou read it in her own words, it was like being there with her again.

What did you like best about this story?

Everything. The candor about her youth and the struggles of her family. I learned so much about that point in history that is never talked about, it was so enlightening. There was so much to this book, every emotion is experienced.

What about Maya Angelou’s performance did you like?

Everything.

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

All of it.

Any additional comments?

I wish all of her books were on audio.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful