Thursday, 11 November 2010
Letter To My Daughter by Maya Angelou
Synopsis: Part autobiography, part politics and part essays, in this collection Maya Angelou writes to all her 'daughters', young women around the world. She covers a diverse range of topics and even includes some poetry.
Score: 3 out of 5
It's not that I didn't enjoy reading this - I did - it's just that this particular collection felt hashed together at the last minute and self-indulgent. I was very interested in the concept of Angelou writing in particular to young women and was honestly expecting the main focus to be women's issues and being a woman. Although there was some of that, most of the collection could easily have been called "Letter to My Children".
There was a distinct lack of organisation too. Each mini-essay was well written but they seemed to be thrown together in a random order with no attention paid to overall themes or messages. It read a bit like essays from other sources had been cobbled together in a collection in order to make money. The editors had also bulked out the book considerably by giving the title of each essay a page of it's own, with the consequence that I read this book very easily in one evening.
Despite all these criticisms, I've given this book a 3 out of 5 because I liked Angelou's writing and felt like she did have a lot of important things to say. And if I had gotten my hands on this at the age of 18 or 19, I probably would have got even more out of it. The basic thread running through all of her writing seemed to be acceptance, politeness and hope, and I can't argue with that. I'm also now looking forward to reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.