July Book: Letter to My Daughter
Author: Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou has been described by Wikipedia as an American autobiographer and poet.She has also, amongst other things, been a dancer, producer, playwright and actress.
I Googled Angelou and found this on the USA Today site:
She was raised by her grandmother, "the greatest person I ever met," in racially segregated Stamps, Ark. She has written about being raped at 7 and becoming an unwed mother at 17, and about the friends who changed her life, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin, whom she knew as "Jimmy."
Now, she's a great-grandmother. She has an 18-room house in Winston-Salem and two town houses in Harlem, black America's unofficial capital, which is enjoying a real estate renaissance. One she rents out, the other she uses as an urban getaway, perfect for dinner parties.
Prior to this all that I knew about this author is that she is highly revered by Oprah Winfrey who describes her as a mentor. I knew that Oprah has thrown her a week long cruise for 150 of her 'closest friends' for a significant birthday. In fact Oprah is one of the many women who are acknowledged at the beginning of the book.
Letter to my Daughter is a collection is essays written to the 'daughter' Angelou never had.
I loved some of the words in the introductory passage:
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." On reading this right at the beginning I was quite excited, thinking I am going to love this book.
It only took a couple of hours to read the whole thing but as I went through it I became more and more cynical. It seemed preachy, self-indulgent and too assuming. I felt like it was a book of sermons but sometimes I couldn't get the message. Perhaps I'm just not well read enough but I didn't know who all the people were that she talked about. Was I meant to? The random words of wisdom seemed, well, too random. There were some amazing words in there but bound as a whole book I found it all too much.
But, hey, that's me. Lots of people will disagree.Plenty of people will love it. That's fine. This is how I felt about it. Today.