Inspiring Messages from Two Extraordinary Women

I recently had the pleasure of listening to two memorable works, Maya Angelou’s newest autobiography Mom & Me & Mom and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir My Beloved World.

maya angelouMaya Angelou narrates the audio CD of Mom & Me & Mom.  Her once booming voice is a little frail now but it nonetheless resonates with the listener. In Mom & Me & Mom, the 7th volume of her autobiographical series, Angelou describes her complex relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter Johnson.  When her parent’s marriage began to fall apart, Angelou along with her brother Bailey were sent to live with their paternal Grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas.  Angelou lived with her Grandmother from the age of 3 to age 13.  When she is finally reunited with her mother, Angelou refuses to call her “Mom” instead mon & me & momreferring to her as “lady”.  Angelou explores the path, often painful, that Mother and Daughter must take to reach forgiveness.  Angelou and her Mother grew extremely close after their reconciliation and Angelou credits the love and support of her Mother as one of the factors in her achieving great success; “My Mother’s gifts of courage to me were both large and small.  The latter are woven so subtly into the fabric of my psyche that I can hardly distinguish where she stops and I begin.”

 my beloved world sotomayorThe audio CD of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir My Beloved World is narrated by actress Rita Moreno. In My Beloved World, Sotomayor tells of her life growing up with an alcoholic Father and distant Mother in an impoverished Bronx neighborhood.  Like Maya Angelou, Sotomayor spends time with her paternal Grandmother, as her parent’s marriage fails. Sotomayor’s determination and self reliance help her deal with the early death of her father and her diagnosis of diabetes.  She excels in school and receives a full scholarship to Princeton University and graduates summa cum laude.  She then goes on to graduate from Yale Law School.  Throughout her memoir, Sotomayor celebrates her ethnicity and cultural heritage.  She is not afraid to tackle tough intimate subjects and address her failings.

 Maya Angelou and Justice Sotomayor show how hard work, faith and dedication can triumph over circumstance and greatness can be achieved.  They cherish memories of their beloved Mothers and Grandmothers and credit these women (however unconventional they were) as key factors in their success. Both books would make excellent choices for book clubs.

– posted by Lisa J., Readers’ Services

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