Book Review: Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou

I received Letter to My Daughter by the late Maya Angelou as a gift from my mother several years ago. After reading it in one sitting, I was enthralled by her wisdom and her way with words. I then watched several documentaries about her, and read a lot more of her work.

I recently re-read this book, and since I have been writing about inspiring, empowering women on my blog, I thought reviewing this book would make perfect sense!

Letter to My Daughter is a series of short essays and poetry, which Maya describes as “Some lessons I have learned and under what conditions I have learned them.” Though Maya only has one child, a son, she dedicates this collection of works to all of her daughters:

“I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish-Speaking, Native-American and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.” – Maya Angelou

The essays cover subjects such as Philanthropy, Faith, Revelations, Motherhood, Truth, Vulgarity, Politics and much more. There is a collection of poetry near the end that is so truthful and beautifully written.

To give you a taste of what this amazing book has to offer, here are a few of my favourite excerpts:

“The ship of life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude.”

“I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We may act sophisticated and worldly but I believe we feel safest when we go inside ourselves and find home, a place where we belong and maybe the only place we really do.”

Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity.”

The two phrases I connect with most, and hit me the hardest are:

“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart.”

The above quote resonated with me because I consider myself an artist, as my primary career is as a Singer-Songwriter. It is an interesting thought that we already have the only resource we need (our heart) at our side whenever we need to draw inspiration. No artist is better off than another, we all have a heart.

I am never proud to participate in violence, yet, I know that each of us must care enough for ourselves, that we can be ready and able to come to our own defence when and wherever needed.”

This quote is a lesson for me because I have always been hesitant when it comes to standing up for myself. It is something I am working on, but if the great Maya Angelou thinks I should, then I will definitely do my best when I need to.

I highly recommend you give Letter to My Daughter a read, as I am sure it will add some value to your life. Especially as a young woman, or any woman, she is so wise. Maya Angelou has been there, seen it, done it and I am so thankful she lived long enough to share so much of her knowledge. The following link is an Amazon Affiliate link, which means if you click through and purchase the book, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Maya Angelou will always be one of my absolute favourite writers. May she rest in peace. (1928-2014)



Related Post: Review: “We Should All Be Feminists”

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