The last book of Hermione’s Feminist Book Club 2016 is MOM & ME & MOM by the legendary Maya Angelou, and it’s a doozy.
Mom & Me & Mom is Angelou’s slim but monumental final book, a memoir that traces that most mythologized of human relationships: that with her mother, Vivian Baxter, an indomitable force and personality in her own right, a beautiful and no-nonsense woman who abandoned her children when they were young, but later came back into their lives determined to support, protect, nurture, and love her daughter.
While I’m of course familiar with Angelou’s poetry and some details of her life (such as her rape and history with sex work), I’ve never read her towering autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I wish I had now; as the last book published before she died, Angelou understandably refrains from recapping most of a life story that many readers would already have been familiar with, and it would’ve been very helpful for me to have read at least her most famous work. But even without having the knowledge to fill in some of the gaps, Mom & Me & Mom is still a stunning, beautiful, moving work.
I honestly didn’t expect to like this book all that much, because I’m not a huge memoir person and again, I’m not all that familiar with Angelou’s life, but this is the kind of book that I almost feel like I’d burst, like a bubble, if I said too much about it. So I’ll just leave it here and tell you to read Mom & Me & Mom. I’m definitely going to read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings now.