When I arrived home from university for my spring break, I found a book sitting on my bed, Letter to my Daughter by Maya Angelou. My mom had bought this book and left it there for me and I was so excited. From the little I knew about Maya Angelou, I already loved her. She is an amazing poet, activist, and all-around woman. Her famous poem Still I Rise gives me shivers every time that I read it.
I’m not quite sure how to characterize this book of hers though, it doesn’t easily fit into a single genre. It’s a well-rounded collection of stories and lessons from throughout her life, some funny, some sad, and most very thought-provoking. One thing I know for sure is that it’s brilliant. I remember reading it while sitting next to a friend and having to stop and reread sections to her aloud every couple of pages, I just had to share her words. I devoured the book in a short couple of hours.
Some of the short essay titles are Revelations, Home, To Tell the Truth, Surviving, and In the Valley of Humility. The titles alone are intriguing and diverse, indicative of the stories they hold. I love the way she wrote the book; it starts by briefly describing her childhood, then diving quickly into honest, and raw stories of her teen pregnancy and travels around the world.
One specific quote stuck with me, “Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.” This came to me during my first year of university, where problem-solving was one of the six main outcomes in my degree program. I liked this view on problem-solving because it highlights the fact that maybe our biggest problem is our point of view, or the way we’re thinking about the problem, an interesting thing to think about…
Read this book with your mother, with your kids, with your friends. Everyone should read this book and let Maya Angelou’s sweet, potent words soak into their hearts.