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Back-to-back listening to two audiobooks about daughters’ complicated relationships with their mothers wasn’t intentional, but the reflections of each woman are similar though their experiences are quite different. Angelou’s mother, Vivian Baxter, sent Maya and her brother away when Maya was just three. They were reunited ten years later, but that abandonment shaped Angelou and her later relationship with her mother. In this memoir, Angelou recounts her path from ambivalence to love and admiration. Baxter was a force and she showed up for Angelou and others in ways that changed their lives. Narrated by Angelou, this is a lovely peek into a complicated pocket of her life.
For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.
Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise to the heights.