Maya Angelou: 'Mom & Me & Mom' explores a powerful mother-daughter dynamic(Read article summary)
Maya Angelou's latest memoir tells of getting to know the mother whom she first called 'Lady' rather than 'Mom.' Maya Angelou is famous for her other autobiographical works, including 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.'
Maya Angelou‚Äôs new book ‚ÄúMom & Me & Mom‚ÄĚ ‚Äď released a month before this year‚Äôs Mother‚Äôs Day ‚Äď focuses on her relationship with her mother.
The book by Angelou ‚Äď the author and poet well known for her many autobiographies as well for her role at Bill Clinton‚Äôs 1993 presidential inauguration ‚Äď discusses her life with her mother. Angelou and her brother were separated from their mother for many of their early years, living with their grandmother while their mother struggled with her marriage.
‚ÄúMom & Me & Mom‚ÄĚ tells the story of how Angelou and her mother were able to reconnect later in life. Angelou told the Huffington Post that she realized recently how supportive her mother was of her.
‚ÄúWhen teachers or people in authority put me down or in one way or another tried to make me feel less than equal to what they thought I should be ‚Äď my mother was on my side,‚ÄĚ she said.
‚ÄúMom & Me & Mom‚ÄĚ was released on April 2. The writer‚Äôs other autobiographical works include perhaps the most well-known, ‚ÄúI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,‚ÄĚ as well as ‚ÄúThe Heart of a Woman‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúA Song Flung Up to Heaven.‚ÄĚ
Reviews of Angelou‚Äôs newest memoir have been mostly positive, with the Monitor‚Äôs books editor Marjorie Kehe writing that ‚Äúadmirers of Angelou‚Äôs now-classic memoir 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' will delight in this sequel.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúHer memoir [is] both a tender read and a lovely tribute to the special gifts that only a mother can bring,‚ÄĚ Kehe wrote.
Boston Globe writer Carmela Ciuraru agreed, writing that ‚Äúpage by page, Angelou‚Äôs story is astonishing.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThere is a slightly frustrating lack of chronology in this book, and several odd lacunae in the narrative ‚Äď but life is messy, and so is memory,‚ÄĚ she wrote. ‚ÄúWhat matters is that 'Mom & Me & Mom' is a superb account of reconciliation, forgiveness, and survival.‚ÄĚ
Fiona Sturges, a writer for The Independent, was also impressed.
‚Äú'Mom & Me & Mom' is a profoundly moving tale of separation and reunion, and an ultimately optimistic portrait of the maternal bond,‚ÄĚ she wrote.
However, Bernardine Evaristo of The Observer found contradictions in details between ‚ÄúCaged Bird‚ÄĚ and "Mom & Me & Mom" distracting.
‚ÄúMemory, it seems, is a fickle, fictional, fantastical thing,‚ÄĚ Evaristo wrote of differences in Angelou‚Äôs portrayal of her mother in the two books. ‚Äú'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' was a ground-breaking triumph. 'Mom & Me & Mom' does a good job of undermining it.‚ÄĚ