Book Review: Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou

Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou

Title: Mom & Me & Mom

Author: Maya Angelou

Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir

Number of Pages: 201

Rating: B+

Recommended?: Yes



This turned out to be the second book I’ve read by Maya Angelou, after I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It’s considered her seventh autobiography but I get the impression it’s one of those rare series you can legitimately read in any order you want. Maya Angelou suffered so much pain growing up, but she ended up having an absolutely fascinating life. It’s hard to believe she spent any time being boring and average like the rest of us, after all she got so many books out of her experiences! So it’s lucky she was a natural-born storyteller, too.


      Mom & Me & Mom is about her relationship with her biological mother, Vivian Baxter, years after she abandoned Maya and her brother with their grandmother. When Maya gets reunited with her mother her whole life completely changes, and she goes from a upbringing filled with of poverty in the sticks to her mother’s comparatively privileged lifestyle. It’s initially hard to adjust to all the changes but she ends up forming a lifelong bond with her mother, who proves herself to be a strong-willed and colorful woman who truly wants to make a connection with her children and get better at parenting.


I felt myself both liking Vivian Baxter while finding her infuriating at the same time. She was definitely a fascinating person (much like her daughter) but she also did some terrible things that made me angry, even though she was willing to admit she was wrong and try to do better. This memoir takes place in a kind of in-between point of the events of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, after Maya Angelou was sexually assaulted as a child but before she ends up getting pregnant after an ill-advised hookup with a neighbor.


That sounds like it might be confusing but it really isn’t, I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings several years ago and I had no trouble reading this book with zero confusion. There’s lots of crazy things that happen to the author and her mother and even though a lot of it is really sad there’s some humor too, which lightens things up and reminds us that there are things to laugh about even in the hardest situations. I recommend this book to anybody who liked I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (and even people who haven’t read it but are interested in the author’s work) and I’m planning to eventually read everything Maya Angelou has written.

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