Book Review: Maya Angelou’s Letter to My Daughter
One of the roles I have always strived to be was a “finisher”. I fell in love with to-do lists in my early years of adolescence. I played tug of war with myself; I tugged at realistic goals while pulling back for more challenging goals. Back and forth I go. To this very minute, I am still struggling to find a healthy balance.
I. READ. A. BOOK! Yesterday I could honestly say I do not remember the last time I read a book cover to cover. Today that changes. I read the entirety of a book (one hundred sixty-six pages to be exact) in one week! I flew through books for school AND pleasure as a child. A proud nerd who found no shame in being labeled a bookworm. As I dived in my teenage years, I started trading in bookmarks for social media, and the fictional characters left to make more room for my tangible friends.
Letter to My Daughter, by Maya Angelou somehow was the perfect transition book for me. The short chapters made it an easier read for me. I am a new mommy of a beautiful three month old daughter who is full of life. Skimming the words while I scan the pages is one thing, but to find the peace to let the letters marinate and the words digest is another. The short chapters allowed me to push to end of the chapter when I knew I was getting restless. I searched and found for the discipline to reread any line I subconsciously guided my trained eyes across without even knowing what I read.
My soul was swimming in Dr. Angelou’s wisdom; I didn’t want to miss one single wave.
This book was lended to me by my dear friend, whom I’ve known just a few years shy of two decades (which I’m sure sounds like my whole life considering I am not even twenty-four yet lol)!!! It goes without saying, she knew there were some empty spots in my spirt that this book could fill. She was right.
That emptiness was somehow heavy, because now I feel lighter.
The book appears to be Maya Angelou’s way of offering her life lessons to anyone willing to receive them. There were a few instances where she wrote with an assertive tone, but nothing felt forced. She shared her experiences eloquently and with a best friend vibe to them. Some of her thoughts I shared as well but never heard anyone be honest enough to admit to them. They were not even necessarily embarrassing. Some ideas are just frowned upon by the majority of society as a result of tradition. She broke through of outdated styles of thinking, that I have memorized, to create her own truth for herself. My admiration for that inspires me to evaluate my own thought process.
She embraced so many silent battles that my peers and I are fighting aimlessly. “I realized I was not a writer who teaches, but a teacher who writes.” The pressure for twenty-somethings to know their purpose and career is no joke. Other adults in my life make it appear easy to discuss their mistakes from their early years. However, I rarely hear their mistakes of the present. Dr. Angelou’s transparency allowed me a well-needed exhale.