Maya Angelou captures the complexity of her relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter, as well as the love. Both Angelou and her brother were deeply wounded when their mother sent them away to live in the deep south with their paternal grandmother for most of their childhood. Angelou starts this memoir when she and her brother were brought back into her mother’s San Francisco home as teenagers.
Angelou shows us how she reconciled the difficult aspects of her mother with the wonderful parts of her. She hints at starting to understand her mother’s abandonment, even while contrasting it with the intense guilt she felt for going on tour for six months when her own son was seven years old (he seemed well cared for during the time).
Of course, it’s hard to be disappointed by a book by Maya Angelou because of the writing alone. Without any unnecessary embellishment, she gives us straight forward, hard-won, deeply sought honesty the whole way.