42 pages 1 hour read

Maya Angelou

Mom & Me & Mom

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 2013

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The Liberatory Bond Between Mother and Daughter

In the Prologue of Mom & Me & Mom, Maya Angelou states that her mother, Vivian Baxter’s, love sustained and liberated her as a person. Angelou’s relationship with her mother evolves, from their initial estrangement to ultimate reconciliation, into an unbreakable bond. Both women create their relationship anew with love and mutual support. Angelou does not immediately approach her mother after their reunion. Vivian’s abandonment and Angelou’s sexual assault by Vivian’s former boyfriend make her distrust her mother. However, Vivian’s honesty helps her open up. Vivian never claims to be a perfect mother but affirms motherhood and recognizes her mistakes. She explains to Angelou and Bailey that as a young woman, she was not ready to be a mother—which, while painful to the siblings, was a responsible decision.

Angelou starts to open up to Vivian when she accepts her feelings and inability to call her “mother.” Vivian recognizes she does not conform to her daughter’s expectations and accepts the name “Lady.” Angelou gains newfound respect for her, appreciating her instilling independence in her and Bailey. Vivian knows how to apologize and when to expect an apology from her children. Angelou learns mutual respect is key to forming a relationship, as anybody can be right or wrong.