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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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  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • Joseph
  • YORK, PA, United States
  • 07-24-14

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.

12 of 21 people found this review helpful

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great read about the life of Maya Angelou.

great read about the life of Maya Angelou as a young girl growing up in Stamps, Arkansas.. it's read my Maya Angelou herself, which is a real treat.

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There's a reason it's a classic.

Great book from start to finish. Maya reading her own book is a treat. You won't regret listening to this book.

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I want to know what happens next!!

Such a fascinating story, it left me wanting to know what happens next! A biography that reads like a fictional novel.

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  • Brian
  • Richmond, CA, United States
  • 01-01-18

Poetic Early Autobiography

Maya Angelou tells of growing up in Arkansas, St Louis and finally San Francisco in her own beautiful voice. What a concise and well told journey!!!

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Maya Angelou reading this is everything

I read this book many years ago. Listening to it in 2017, read by the author, is so pertinent and so valuable. What an incredible talent, what an important work.

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Love Her.

Maya Angelou is my everything!!!! I love her voice. She is such a story teller!!!!

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Maya Angelou🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

I absolutely loved the manner in which Ms. Angelou wrote, illustrated, and narrated her story! Such an inspirational and motivating story! Ms. Angelou thanks for sharing your great, memorable life journeys with the world! Rest on Sista!

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Wonderful in every sense of the word

How beautiful to listen to the author tell the story. I cannot imagine it any other way. No wonder that this is a timeless masterpiece.

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A must read for Angelou fans

I have always loved Maya Angelou, which is what initially drew me to this audio book. What a revelation this story was, as she artfully told the story of her early life growing up in rural America. A tale of triumph over adversity, determination in the worst of circumstances, and the will to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of childhood abuse, it lends an incredible backstory to the development of an extraordinary character and marvelous talent. I will listen again and again.

Audible 20 sweepstakes review entry