Monday, July 16, 2012

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Six years ago, I informed the professor leading my American Literature seminar course on writing influenced by Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre that I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings should be on the syllabus the next time he taught the course.  I have no idea why I told him that: I hadn't read the book and didn't know much about it beyond the title.  Six years later, I finally decided to read it.  Now I definitely think this book should be considered for the syllabus.

Maya Angelou is perhaps best known as a poet.  While this is not officially a work of poetry, what makes this memoir, er, memorable is the language laid out to describe and interpret each scene of her childhood and teenage years.  While its subject matter is not entirely uplifting (if you're going to read it, be prepared for descriptions of racism, child abuse, poverty), its tone is.  Angelou infuses her stories with realism and hope, which is probably what makes this a popular choice for high school reading lists.

On a side note....
It's funny what makes you decide to read a certain book at a certain time.  This book made the cut this week because it fit in my purse and I need something to read on a train trip to Toronto.  The trip passed in a flash, as I was completely wrapped up in the story shortly after rolling out of the station.  Next on my reading list is a phonebook-sized tome that not even my largest purse can hold.  Guess I'll be staying close to home for the next couple of days. ;)

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