Mom & Me & Mom
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.
For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.
Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise from immeasurable depths to reach impossible heights.
Praise for Mom & Me & Mom
“Mom & Me & Mom is delivered with Angelou’s trademark good humor and fierce optimism. If any resentments linger between these lines, if lives are partially revealed without all the bitter details exposed, well, that is part of Angelou’s forgiving design. As an account of reconciliation, this little book is just revealing enough, and pretty irresistible.”—The Washington Post
“Moving . . . a remarkable portrait of two courageous souls.”—People
“[The] latest, and most potent, of her serial autobiographies . . . [a] tough-minded, tenderhearted addition to Angelou’s spectacular canon.”—Elle
“Mesmerizing . . . Angelou has a way with words that can still dazzle us, and with her mother as a subject, Angelou has a near-perfect muse and mystery woman.”—Essence
“True to her style, [Angelou’s] writing cuts to the chase with compression and simplicity, and there in the background is a calypso smoothness, flurries and showers of musicality between the moments of wickedness. . . . A tightly strung, finely tuned memoir about life with her mother.”—Kirkus Reviews
“In this loving recollection of a complicated relationship, Angelou for the first time details the mother-daughter journey to reconciliation and unwavering connection and support. . . . Angelou vividly portrays a spirited woman. . . . [A] remarkable and deeply revealing chronicle of love and healing.”—Booklist
“Written with her customary eloquence . . . follows in the episodic style of Angelou’s earlier volumes of autobiography, pulling the reader along effortlessly. The lessons and the love presented here will speak to those trying to make their way in the world.”—Publishers Weekly
“In straightforward style, Mom & Me & Mom dives deeply into Angelou’s complicated relationship with her mother. . . . At 84, Angelou shows few signs of slowing down.”—BookPage
“That’s right, bear down, bear down.” I bore down and as the baby was coming out she said, “Here he comes, and he has black hair.” I wondered, What color hair did you think he would have? The nurse washed him and my mother said, “Look at this: We have a wonderful handsome boy. Okay baby, it’s all right now. You can go to sleep.” She kissed me and left. My stepdad later told me she was so wrung out when she got home, she looked like she had had twins. I thought about my mother and knew she was
brought in a glass of Scotch, which I drank, although at the time I was not a drinker. The liquor put me to sleep. When I awakened and heard no voices from the studio I went in there. Wilkie asked me, “What’s wrong?” I told him I was going crazy. He asked again, “What’s really wrong?” Upset that he had not heard me, I said, “I thought about killing myself today and killing Guy. I’m telling you I’m going crazy.” Wilkie said, “Sit down right at this table. Here is a yellow pad and a ballpoint
know I brought friends here. They think I am so such-a-much and they are in the house because I invited them. Nichelle Nichols and her fella and my fella, who are quite well-known artists, even famous, were going to be involved in a shooting. Was that fair to me?” She came around to me and she said, “Baby, you know I didn’t do anything to that man. He’s the one who did something to me. You see, baby, you have to protect yourself. If you don’t protect yourself, you look like a fool asking
Acknowledgments Other Books by This Author About the Author PROLOGUE Frequently, I have been asked how I got to be this way. How did I, born black in a white country, poor in a society where wealth is adored and sought after at all costs, female in an environment where only large ships and some engines are described favorably by using the female pronoun—how did I get to be Maya Angelou? Many times I have wanted to quote Topsy, the young black girl in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I have been
“Oh, sit down.” So I sat down. She said, “So what about it?” I said, “I have been taking some of it to the New Fillmore Theater movie house on Sundays.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “I pour some of the liquor into a mason jar and take it to the movie house on Sundays.” “What do you do with it?” I said, “I give it to the kids. I want them to like me.” “You’ve been taking my liquor out of my house and taking it to the movie house and giving it to underage children? Do you realize how