As I said before, this next book is really appropriate for Black History Month. In looking at the (uniquely finite) list of choices for Challenge #13 “An Oprah Book Club selection,” I was admittedly a bit torn, as Middlesex sounded like something I’d like to read. (How many books have intersex leads?) But in the end I decided to go with this one.
Rather than make any futile attempt on my own to describe the contents of the book in summary, let me quote the summary from the book’s Goodreads page instead:
Maya Angelou has fascinated, moved, and inspired countless readers with the first three volumes of her autobiography, one of the most remarkable personal narratives of our age. Now, in her fourth volume, The Heart of a Woman, her turbulent life breaks wide open with joy as the singer-dancer enters the razzle-dazzle of fabulous New York City. There, at the Harlem Writers Guild, her love for writing blazes anew.
Her compassion and commitment lead her to respond to the fiery times by becoming the northern coordinator of Martin Luther King’s history-making quest. A tempestuous, earthy woman, she promises her heart to one man only to have it stolen, virtually on her wedding day, by a passionate African freedom fighter.
Filled with unforgettable vignettes of famous characters, from Billie Holiday to Malcolm X, The Heart of a Woman sings with Maya Angelou’s eloquent prose her fondest dreams, deepest disappointments, and her dramatically tender relationship with her rebellious teenage son. Vulnerable, humorous, tough, Maya speaks with an intimate awareness of the heart within all of us.
While that does sum up most of the content matter, it doesn’t really do justice to the book. There’s so much more involved, and the summary doesn’t put nearly enough emphasis on her involvement with the Civil Rights Movement. Also, it doesn’t mention that there are places where the narrative grips you so much that you have to keep reading, desperate to know what will happen next, even though the events all took place fifty+ years ago.