I have a kind of mental list of “books I want to read” or “books I probably should read.” That list is sketchy in information beyond the titles, though. A book might be on the list because someone recommended it, or because I read something else by the same author and I liked it, or because it’s on one of those “50 Books You Must Read So You Can Look Down On Others” lists. Chances are, by the time I get around to reading it, I’ll have forgotten why I wanted to.
This was the case with Maya Angelou’s I Know why the Caged Bird Sings. Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you for certain when it was that I put it on my Kindle. However, when I’d finished reading The Martian, I still had reading time and I still had my Kindle with me and, well, there it was.
All this meant that I didn’t realise the book is an autobiography until several chapters in, when Maya finally refers to her name. Until then I had assumed it was fiction. I know, I’m a moron, right?
Honestly, realising that it wasn’t fiction was a bit horrible. It meant all the horrible struggles and experiences being shared were real. I wasn’t quite ready for that. I had to put it down for a bit. I love bleak fiction but bleak reality? That’s hard to take. I did pick it back up though – how could I not? It’s an amazing book and the bleakness isn’t presented as such – it’s just the way things are and the young Angelou seems to simply accept everything that happens to her as if it could be no other way. She also manages to make some of it sounds fun and a lot of it sound hilarious.
The only problem is that now I have to put everything else she’s written on my mental “books I want to read” list. I’m not likely to forget why the other titles are there, though.
Originally posted here: http://unazukin210.tumblr.com/post/132793535020/book-review-i-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings