Advanced search

I am wondering how much embellishment goes on in Maya Angelou's books

(16 Posts)
ElizabethHoover Sat 27-Dec-14 10:52:39

and why no one questions it.
Ok - Caged bird seemed sadly very plausible, but the second one verges on nuts. The idea that she runs a pair of lesbian prostitutes at the age of 18 seems a little. well, fantastic.
Yet there are no articles I can find questioning her veracity. is she too much of an icon to be questioned?

GoodArvo Sat 27-Dec-14 11:20:06

I agree. I've read about 4 books of her autobiography. The books are quite entertaining and well written, but I think a lot of it is made up/embellished. I think some people have looked into the things that didn't really happen.

GoodArvo Sat 27-Dec-14 11:23:44

I just had a look at Wikipaeida and they call her work "autobiographical fiction".

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 27-Dec-14 11:26:46

All fact is fiction and all fiction is fact.

ElizabethHoover Sat 27-Dec-14 11:44:57

i know that a lot of preening goes on in memoirs but hers are amazing

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Sat 27-Dec-14 13:22:03

I found her too, too much and the element of disbelief takes away from what I think probably was a genuinely remarkable life.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 27-Dec-14 13:26:03


Birdsgottafly Sat 27-Dec-14 13:42:17

My Uncle wrote about our family background and was accused of making it up.

My GM ran boarding houses which she turned into brothels.

Thanks to us being in Liverpool and being situated around the Docks etc, we are all mixed heritage (via a Merchant Navy connection ;) ).

My GM ran Brothels in Liverpool, London and Antwerp.

We have all had really interesting lives, littered with quite famous people/Gangsters.

I've recently contributed to threads about the Sex Industry, having had experience, now I've retired from Social Work.

That's only a fraction of what has happened in my family.

I've read her books, found them slightly racist towards white prostitutes, tbh.

But I didn't find then far fetched.

They may be fiction but probably based on facts, along the way.

Birdsgottafly Sat 27-Dec-14 13:46:49

Just to add that no-one ever believes my Mum when she says she once had a flat over looking the Thames.

I didn't believe my GM when she told me about the murder of Jack the Hat, before it became public.

My GMs sisters married Bolivian Sailors and were caught up in Gun etc running.

My GF was part Native American, my Great Uncles were Shaman, he lived up the last years if his life in New Orleans.

ElizabethHoover Sat 27-Dec-14 15:07:36

I don't see birds why your family background is relevant? Can you explain?

ElizabethHoover Sat 27-Dec-14 15:08:35

The bit I found least believable was when she changes in about 30 seconds from a gullible teenager smoking marijuana for the first time, to suddenly a business dealing madam able to hoodwink a couple of old pros

MistAndAWeepingRain Sat 27-Dec-14 15:11:59

Well birds the issue is not whether some people live fantastically interesting lives (as you and your family do) but whether this particular author has embellished a bit. I would agree that she certainly has. But it's a great yarn so I don't really mind!

ElizabethHoover Sat 27-Dec-14 15:25:45

I think I lost interest when the yarn became too far. She slso seemed more than happy to keep abandoning her son rather than staying put with her mother grandmother or other care givers

Birdsgottafly Sat 27-Dec-14 15:33:29

Elizabeth, my point was that things can change/happen fast, people can have unbelievable lives. She may not have carried out all that she has said, but they may be real life events that she witnessed.

Also some people are, by nature of their lifestyle, thrown constantly into unbelievable situations.

As for the judgment of her, she wrote an autobiography, that's what happened in her life.

Just as I found her judgement of the white women around her, wrong, it was because of a lack of knowledge around their circumstances/ real choices.

We can never really appreciate the need/ability for/of many Black Women to make the choices they did, in terms of their children.

ChristmasDawndonnaagain Sat 27-Dec-14 17:12:50

Just because you choose not to believe it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Lots of people have led interesting and unbelievable lives, writers in particular. It may be fantastical, doesn't, as I said, make it any less real.

FreudiansSlipper Sat 27-Dec-14 20:16:55

some people live lives that have little grounding and constantly changing

my family on my fathers side is rather extreme, grandmother an exotic dancer, grandfather killed by gang in the Maldives of all places (he was working there) and a number of strange set up's where european men and women were more than just master and housemaid

and I doubt any of us have thankfully been in the situation where we have to leave our children behind in order to be able to support them and ourselves but this is still the case still for some of my family its very sad that this is a way of life for many people in this world

an ex of mine his great grandmother was a money lender in the docks in the east end, she also ran a pub and his great grandfather was one of the first black football players

I find her books fascinating, an amazing life she lead but not one that I would want to have

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: