Book 61: Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas by Maya Angelou

As a fan of Maya Angelou’s writing and spirit, I was surprised to find that she’d been married. I knew of her child, her childhood, even the hooking ring that she’d run as detailed in Gather Together in My Name, but I didn’t know that she’d had a husband. This memoir begins by detailing that relationship; it’s strengths and its myriad of weaknesses, and eventually it’s failure.

In a big way this memoir is about Angelou’s dealings and relations with white people in her early 20’s. From her marriage to this Greek man and it’s failure to working in a strip club and finding herself more often than not one of few women of color in the room. Though the memoir starts with Angelou’s marriage, it delves moreso into her career as a dancer and her international travels as a result.

I feel luck, as a reader, to have read so much about Angelou’s life. This is my third memoir of hers, fourth book counting her collection of essays, Letter to My Daughter. Maya Angelou has taught me many things about myself, though that sounds illogical.

Angelos was Angelou’s married name, though one of her bosses suggested that she drop the s and substitute the u to avoid sounding “too Spanish or Italian.” It was in this segment of her life that she adopted the public name Maya Angelou – Marguerite wasn’t fitting as per the same boss’s opinion, so she returned to the nickname her brother had given her, Maya.

I will admit, there’s an instance in the 25th chapter where Angelou expresses a mildly homophobic sentiment, which was disappointing to say the least.

I read this memoir electronically, my Goodreads highlights can be accessed here.

I give this memoir a 9/10.

Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas

Happy reading!

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