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Mom & Me & Mom; Reviewed by Seyi Babs
Author: Maya Angelou
Year of Publication: 2013
This book centers on family. It gives a sneak peek into the life of Maya Angelou; the good, bad, and ugly experiences she had while growing up. Maya found love with Bailey Johnson, a handsome soldier who just returned from World war 1 –till they broke up. Vivian Baxter, her mother, was one who taught her to choose her happiness over anything. The fierce Vivian told her that doing so doesn’t mean she was selfish. She didn’t forget to teach her as well, that there are some decisions you take ‘for family.’ Vivian herself displayed this when she sent off Maya and her brother Bailey (he shared his Dad’s name), to Stamps to stay with Annie Henderson, Bailey Johnson’s mother.
Bailey was five and Maya was three when their mother, Vivian Baxter sent them to live with Grandmother Annie. Maya was thirteen years old when she and Bailey returned to California to be reunited with their mother, who at this time was married to Clidell Jackson. Maya’s re-union with her Mum was cold and you can’t totally blame her as she was only a three-year-old when she left her Mum, only to come back some ten years later. On sighting her, she couldn’t bring herself to call her ‘Mother.’ ‘Lady,’ she said to her mother, ‘…because you are beautiful, and you don’t look like a mother.’ Maya would later go on to love her Mum. However, Bailey who was re-united with Vivian one month after Maya, was overly exhilarated to re-unite with his Mother. Bailey would later go on to dislike his Mum. What a twist!
“Please sit down, I have something to say”: this was Vivian’s way of telling Bailey and Maya the importance of what would follow. And, they were always ready. She said this one time at the dining table where she later relayed to the family that Maya would prefer to call her ‘Lady’ than ‘Mother.’ Maya was raped at age 7, became the first black cable car conductor in San Francisco, got pregnant at age 16, and delivered her son Guy Bailey. Her Mom Vivian showed up for her so many times, and this was one of the times she showed up for her. She didn’t throw her out. In Maya’s word, “…she didn’t hate me or cause me to hate myself.”
Bailey, Maya’s brother went on to join the Navy, became a drug addict, got married to Eunice, and stopped drugs. Eunice died unexpectedly and Bailey went back to drugs. This book teaches lots of lessons about family and growing up, love, and the impact it has on everyone in a family circle.
I’d give the book a 9/10 rating and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Go grab yours off the shelf!
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