Book Review: The Collected Autobiographies Of Maya Angelou

The Collected Autobiographies Of Maya AngelouBook: The Collected Autobiographies Of Maya Angelou

Published April 2012 by Random House|1161 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: None

Genre: Adult Non-fiction: Autobiography

You can find The Collected Autobiographies Of Maya Angelou on goodreads

Goodreads Summary: 

This Modern Library edition contains I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Gather Together in My Name, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas, The Heart of a Woman, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, and A Song Flung Up to Heaven.

When I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published to widespread acclaim in 1969, Maya Angelou garnered the attention of an international audience with the triumphs and tragedies of her childhood in the American South. This soul-baring memoir launched a six-book epic spanning the sweep of the author’s incredible life. Now, for the first time, all six celebrated and bestselling autobiographies are available in this handsome one-volume edition.

Dedicated fans and newcomers alike can follow the continually absorbing chronicle of Angelou’s life: her formative childhood in Stamps, Arkansas; the birth of her son, Guy, at the end of World War II; her adventures traveling abroad with the famed cast of Porgy and Bess; her experience living in a black expatriate “colony” in Ghana; her intense involvement with the civil rights movement, including her association with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X; and, finally, the beginning of her writing career.

The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou traces the best and worst of the American experience in an achingly personal way. Angelou has chronicled her remarkable journey and inspired people of every generation and nationality to embrace life with commitment and passion.

What I Thought:

Maya Angelou really is quite the woman!  After hearing that she passed away, I knew I had to read her autobiographies. I read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings years ago, but it never occurred to me to pick up her other ones.  I really am sad that I didn’t read them earlier.

I’m actually glad I went with her collected autobiographies, because she did so much, and I felt like her life story flowed a lot better being able to read all of her autobiographies as a collective whole.

I loved seeing her life up to when she started writing I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and she had such an eventful life! It did get a little tedious at times, especially with All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes and A Song Flung Up To Heaven. All together, it was a definitely a marathon, and I think by the time I got to her last two books, I kind of wanted to be done with her autobiographies.  They were interesting, and I don’t want to take away from that at all, but I also wish I had taken a little more time with them.

It’s so easy to see how she became the person that she was- she is definitely a survivor, and always landed on her own two feet, no matter what happened to her.  I was quite surprised by some of things I read- like running a brothel, and traveling all over the world (and even making an effort to learn the language of every country she visited) and working for both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr…she is truly an inspiration, and I feel like we’re so lucky that she shared her story with us.

She really does have a way with words, and there were times when I forgot I was reading an autobiography. There’s something very poetic about the way she writes, and she has a way of feeling like she’s telling you a story.

Let’s Rate It:

I feel so honored to have read Maya Angelou’s story.  I feel like I understand her world so much better after reading her autobiographies, and I really regret taking so long to read them!  Reading them as one collective work was daunting, especially with her last couple autobiographies, but I also liked seeing her life as a whole, instead of in shorter stories. Her Collected Autobiographies get 4 stars.

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