I decided to read this soon after I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The name really drew me in, and I loved the relationships that the book presented with her various mothers. Plus, the name drew me to it.
I thought that the book would talk more about her grandmother, the woman who raised her for a good portion of her youth, but it actually focused on her biological mother, Vivian Baxter. Vivian really reminded me of my mother. She was calm, fierce, and just amazing. What more do you want from a mother? I spaced out some of it since it rehashed what happened in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, but I paid attention after Maya’s pregnancy. It focused on her growing relationship with her mother, how they truly became a mother and daughter and, most importantly, friends.
It really honed in on her first marriage, the man who gave her that infamous last name. As she grew as an adult, her friendship with her mother grew as well. I think that the funniest story is the one where she recounts her stepfather’s stroke and Vivian’s reaction to it. Basically, she gets a call from her mother, telling her that she’s going to throw her stepfather out unless he starts having sex with her again and that Maya has to tell him that. It’s funnier when you think that Maya actually did that. And funnier yet when you hear that her mother was 74 years old when she did this.
Really, this was a highly enjoyable exploration of a child’s relationship with her mom. As we all grow and change, our relationships with our parents do the same. I loved how Maya took her through these changes without any embarrassment or shying away from it.