Emma Watson, the outspoken actor/activist/cool girl in the way of all things feminism and Harry Potter lore, has selected her book club’s next read. For the months of November and December, Our Shared Shelf will be reading Mom & Me & Mom, by Maya Angelou.
Here’s what Watson shared about her pick, earlier this week on Goodreads:
Dear Our Shared Shelf,
November and December’s book will be Mom & Me & Mom, Maya Angelou’s final work, published a year before her death, in 2013, when she was 85 years old. It was the first book to focus on her mother, Vivian Baxter, who abandoned Angelou when she was a child and it portrays their complicated relationship. The story is about the special connection between mother and child; both women found a way to move on and form a profound and enduring bond of love and support.
Many of you may be familiar with Angelou’s 1969 classic, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, but that was just the first of seven works of autobiography. And, despite the length of time between their publications, some have referred to Mom & Me & Mom as a spiritual sequel to this first book. Angelou revisits episodes and people in her life mentioned in her previous works in a different context and all focused around her relationship with her mother.
Vivian Baxter cuts a fiercely unapologetic figure, imperfect but admirable, and we discover not just how she had a hand in Angelou’s evolution as a black woman but also in her feminist perspective, her independence and self-awareness, all of which contributed to her unique way of looking at the world and the way she expressed herself on the page. As a result, this is perhaps the greatest window into what shaped Angelou as a writer and poet and a fitting end to a lifetime of amazing works.
This book is one I have read before and is one of my favourites – I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
In addition to being a Watson favorite and a exemplar feminist read, Angelou’s book has been highly praised by The Observer and Publishers Weekly among others, and gotten itself cozy in the top slots of the New York Times Bestseller list – in a matter of days after publication. The title references the novels two distinct sections, Mom & Me and Me & Mom, stitching together Angelou’s younger moments of anger, distrust, and distance from her mother, and later moments of appreciation. The novel is steeped in the complex and evolving relationship between a mother and daughter, with a meditation on Vivian’s unyielding support and love. If you have yet to pick up a novel by Angelou, you are missing out on some serious wit, humor and steadfast optimism – not to mention some beautiful writing. Emma says so, and we second that notion.
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Featured image courtesy of WizardsandWhatNot.