Author: Maya Angelou
Title: Letter to My Daughter
Publication Date: Sept. 2008
Number of Pages:192 pages
Geographical Setting: U.S.A. – San Francisco, CA; Winston-Salem, NC; Stamps, Arkansas
Time Period: 1930s to Present Day
Plot Summary: Maya Angelou provides wisdom and inspirational advice to her “daughters”, a word she uses to describe the ethnically and physically diverse world of women, in this beautiful book of antidotes, poetry, and personal musings. She reflects on a different topic in each of the 28 short chapters in the book, adding her personal thoughts to topics such as philanthropy, violence, the national spirit, and older lovers. There are many stories from her journey in life, as well as excerpts and recollections about many of her dear friends, including Coretta Scott King. Her strong personality and resilient spirit comes through in the book, though you can also sense the kindness and humility that lies beneath her strong exterior. She often mentions her faith and her belief in God, though it never comes off as preachy or overbearing.
Subject Headings: Reflections, African-American Arts, Christianity – Influence, Women, Single Motherhood, Racial Issues, Cross-Cultural Differences, Growing Up, Social Marginality
Appeal terms: Inspirational, Uplifting, Thoughtful, Thought-Provoking, Fierce, Witty, Candid, Authentic, Moving, Poignant, Compassionate, Bittersweet, Emotionally-Charged, Intimate
3 terms that best describe this book: Inspirational, Thought-Provoking, Emotionally-Charged
Similar Authors and Works:
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Voices of Time: A Life in Stories – Eduardo Galeano
Uruguayan author Galeano pieces together political and historical stories from various places around the world and adds his own unique ironic voice and lyrical style. He also includes a bit about his life, and tries to add hopeful notes in otherwise negative real life events.
Seeing Through Place: Reflections on Geography and Identity – Mary Gordon
Gordon reflects on her life in eight essays that include stories about her childhood and her walk with God as a Catholic. Her essay about her grandmother reminds me of Angelou’s musings about her upbringing by her grandmother as well.
I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman – Nora Ephron
Ephron, who is no stranger to the world of Hollywood like Angelou, writes stories about what she has come to learn about womanhood as an older woman. Her stories are witty and funny, with an honesty that can only come from someone who is comfortable in her own skin.
3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Passing by Samaria – Sharon Ewell Foster
Alena, a girl who growing up in the early 1900’s amidst racism and slavery, holds on to her faith in God to help her weather the terrible times in her life, as she moves to Chicago and is torn between two potential suitors. An inspirational Christian novel that will speak to most readers.
Awakening Mercy – Angela Benson
Cece Williams, a young African-American mom like Angelou, is forced into community service after racking up unpaid parking tickets. At the charity, Genesis House, she encounters new motivation in her life as she helps others find jobs and work through pregnancies, and unexpectedly falls in love.
Love Medicine – Louise Erdrich
An epic saga about the lives of two Native-American families as they struggle to survive with the odds stacked against them. A realistic portrayal of Native-Americans that are still hopeful despite being oppressed by the government, struggles with poverty, and alcohol addictions. The struggles of the Native-Americans could be compared to that of African-Americans in the United States, and the long histories that have accompanied them.
Name: Lian Sze