My family knows me so well. This Mother’s Day, in addition to gorgeous flowers, cards, and a delicious cup of well made coffee, Ayva and Terrence also gave me Maya Angelou’s new book, “Mom & Me & Mom“. The author, known for her compelling autobiographies, lets readers in on the colorful relationship that she had with her mother, Vivian Baxter. Although Angelou didn’t live with her mother until she turned 13 years old, they still developed a close bond that they both seemed to depend on in their adult years.
Vivian Baxter was quite remarkable. When Angelou was younger, instead of Mother, she called Vivian”Lady” because she thought Vivian was, “beautiful” and “didn’t look like a mother”. Angelou soon learned that looks can be deceiving as Lady looked after her time after time, and proved herself worthy of the title of Mother. Vivian did everything from help Maya birth and raise her son, Guy, to design costumes with her for Maya’s go-go club debut. When Angelou felt alone and isolated in Europe while working on a project, her mother was on the first plane to Sweden to take care of her. It’s easy to see why Maya Angelou wrote this tribute to her mother.
The book is written in Angelou’s typical straightforward tone, and feels like sitting down in the kitchen and having your Auntie share your family’s history with you. The book is intimate with details about very personal issues like Angelou’s teenage pregnancy, and the time that her mother saved her from near-death after abuse by a boyfriend. Knowing that this book is not fiction, I was very pleased that Maya Angelou didn’t embellish her stories much to try to evoke emotions. Instead, she allowed the authentic experiences to speak for themselves, and trusted that we the readers would be smart enough to know what to feel and when.
I read this book in about 2 hours, and would recommend that you add it to your summer reading list. It will give you more insight into the life of one of America’s greatest authors, and it might also encourage you to look at your own family relationships a little closer.
Have you read any good books lately? What other books would you recommend for my summer reading list?