OK, I'm going to preface all this by saying that I'm NOT a book editor or even an English teacher... so my input on these books will be from an everyday person's perspective... I welcome any more professional input, or thought provoking discussions!
The first book I'm taking on is "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou. I'm a bit ashamed to admit, I've never read any of her work. Mostly because I thought she only wrote poetry, I had no idea she wrote prose! Well, consider me re-educated... her writing is so beautiful!!!
This is her autobiography, and it's really great so far... I could nearly smell her Momma's Store (with a capital "S"), and taste the meals she and her family ate. Her parents divorced when she and her brother were 3 and 4 respectively, and Maya and her brother Baily are sent to live with her father's mother in Arkansas. Her description of how they perceived white people is great, there was no animosity, no dislike, just a childlike disbelief that whites were even real people. The town she was living in was so segregated that she didn't interact with whites on a daily basis. She had more interaction with what was considered "powhitetrash". A word I LOVE, by the way, it conveys the dialect sweetly to me... the powhitetrash seemed to consider themselves somehow entitled, and of a higher "class" than Maya's family even though they had much less money and property and were not well educated in social niceties. I've just gotten to the part where she and her brother have been picked up by her absentee father and brought to stay with her mother in Saint Louis... I'm sure some trouble will ensue.... stay tuned!