Review: Mom & Me & Mom

11Jan14
angelou

Image taken from ABC News – click through to read an excerpt from the book.

Dr. Maya Angelou has had an amazing life, and every time she reveals a little bit more of her serial biography, readers learn more and more about just how deep the roots of that amazing go. Angelou’s latest book revolves, as its title implies, around her relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter. The loving portrait of a woman who was not always easy to love is a testament to how even a troubled mother-daughter relationship can grow beyond its challenges and develop into a lifelong source of comfort and nurturing.

“Lady,” as Angelou calls her, sent her children to live in Stamps, Arkansas when her marriage was breaking up, feeling that it would be better for them not to see it falling apart. When the children returned to California, Angelou initially resisted reconciliation, but was won over by Baxter’s fierce devotion to Maya and her brother Bailey. The short, conversational chapters revolve around events in Angelou’s life where her mother helped her through a difficulty, served as an example or taught a valuable lesson. Baxter, a woman with a lust for life and a protective streak a mile wide, went to outrageous lengths to demonstrate her love for her children, and as she grew to womanhood Angelou learned to value and cherish, more and more, Baxter’s help and example. Readers who like memoir will find themselves speeding through the pages, and, unavoidably, thinking of their own mothers, comparing and contrasting as they read.

Of course, not everybody has adventures with their mother the way Angelou does. Some of the incidents these women survived will leave you with your mouth hanging open, amazed at their strength, but also appalled that anyone in the 20th century had to put up with those injustices. There are also moments of great joy and delight later in the women’s lives, and the reader cherishes them even more because they are hard-won victories.

If you’re already a fan of Dr. Angelou, you will definitely want to pick up this book. If you are a mother, a daughter, or both, you will also find it very moving and touching. This book would also make a great gift for any woman in your life you consider special, and want to honor with a symbol of your friendship/bond.

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