Monday, February 15, 2010

REVIEW: Letter To My Daughter by Maya Angelou

I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish speaking, Native Americans and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.

I adore Maya Angelou. Everything she writes sounds like poetry to me. I read the first of her autobiographies, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, many years ago and Angelou quickly became an inspiration to me. She also speaks beautifully, she writes powerfully and packs such wisdom into her words. She's written other books that follow on from I Know Why, and I have several of them that I haven't yet gotten to. After reading Letter To My Daughter, I think I shall bump up her other books to the top of my pile.

Letter to My Daughter is dedicated to all the women of the world. She writes little essays and the occasional poem to share with us all the lessons that she has learned and would like to share with us, her daughters. She writes about the experiences that have shaped her life - her first sexual experience, an abusive boyfriend. She writes about her relationship with her own mother, about conversations where Angelou said something horribly embarassing and out of line. She writes scathingly of society falling into vulgarity and obscenity. But her lessons are gentle. Be kind to others, there's a friend waiting in strangers, don't jump to conclusions as you may look foolish. Some essays are just her experiences and you're left to piece together what advice is given for yourself.

Maya Angelou has led such an interesting life and is such a strong and courageous woman. And reading Letter To My Daughter inspires me to live life with kindness and inner strength, to learn from my mistakes, to 'become the rainbow in somebody's else's cloud,' to be hopeful, and uncomplaining and charitable. I adored this book. I highly recommend it.

The ship of my life may or not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright or promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.

Other Opinions:

The Book Lady's Blog

Read for: 100+ reading challenge, Woman Unbound reading challenge

Maya Angelou introduces Letter to My Daughter

Random House | MySpace Video


  1. This sounds wonderful. I've added it to my list.

  2. I am looking forward to reading the Bird Cage one now. She nows like a fantastic author.

  3. That sounds like an amazing book! I think I want to read it! :)


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