Book Column One: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings 

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The front depicts a sun and a sparrow bird. The book dimensionally is small but is a perfect size for carrying around. (Created by Abigail Crawford)

Hi, my name is Abigail Crawford but all my friends call me Abby, and this is my book column. Here, I will introduce a book I have read within the past month or so, review it, and at the end give spoilers. 

But don’t worry — I will give you a fair heads up for where the spoilers are at the bottom. 

My goal here is to get people interested in reading again, as it seems to be an archaic ritual to most teenagers. 

This month’s first book is a classic. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou. I’ll start first by introducing the book. 

Overview: Maya Angelou’s book is a memoir about her childhood and growing up in the Deep South as a black girl. It’s raw; and heartbreaking about the hardships she had to endure. 

Rating: 5/5 Stars. This book changed the way I thought of the world and how much money can change circumstances for a family. It made me grateful for the stability in my home. I can also relate a lot to Maya Angelou, as in my life I’ve had some of the same feelings of frustration and loss of innocence having to grow up in so much instability and hardship. This book is easily on my top five list, and I can see myself reading it again in the future. I would highly recommend this to anyone; it’s a staple to have in your library. 

Spoilers: Okay here are the spoilers. First, I wanted to talk about Maya’s assault as she was abused by her mother’s boyfriend. It was a cruel act, and ultimately Maya ended up blaming herself. The blatant truth and raw emotion behind this scene in the book will stay with me for life. It was something I knew to expect because of the comments on the back of the book cover, but still, it was shocking. I think it was an important turning point for Maya, and it reflected the abuse that can occur in a household.

Secondly, I thought it was inspiring how Maya Angelou managed to get her job even when it was a whites-only job. Even while pregnant, she still worked and got her job working the cars. 

What confused me though was her brother, Bailey Jr. He was mischievous and had sexual relations in a tent in the backyard in his youth. In the end at age 16, he fell in love with his mother and then moved out and headed to California. To me this was the most confusing part: Why did Bailey fall in love with his Mother? Why was he forced to move out at such a young age? It was all very strange and not elaborated on, and I’m not sure what Angelou was trying to achieve by including specific details such as that, it felt forced and confusing. 

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