Book Review: Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou
by Maya Angelou
Book Reviewed by Kam Williams
“‘Words mean more than what is set down on paper,’ Maya Angelou wrote in her groundbreaking memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Indeed, Angelou’s words have traveled the world and transformed lives—inspiring, strengthening, healing…
Now, in this collection of sage advice, humorous quips, and pointed observations culled from the author’s great works… Maya Angelou’s spirit endures… A treasured keepsake as well as a beautiful tribute to a woman who touched so many, Rainbow in the Cloud reminds us that ‘If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within.’”
—Excerpted from the book jacket
Dr. Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri
on April 4th, 1928. She overcame a traumatic childhood to blossom into a
world-renowned poet, author, educator, actress, historian, filmmaker and
civil rights activist.
Over the course of an enviable career that spanned a half-century, she would write 7 autobiographies, 5 collections of essays, 18 books of poetry, 2 cookbooks, 7 children’s books and 7 plays. She also received innumerable awards and accolades, including 60 honorary doctorates from such schools as Columbia, Howard and Smith, to name a few.
Rainbow in the Cloud is a collection of 200 of the late icon’s most memorable quotes borrowed not only from previously published works but from social media posts and pearls of wisdom shared over the years with her only son, Guy, and other family members. Her uplifting words touch on a litany of themes ranging from community to spirituality to grace to love.
On relationships: “Everything of value takes work, particularly relationships.”
On friendship: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
On self-esteem: “If we have someone who loves us… then it’s easier to grow resilience, to grow belief in self, to grow self-esteem. And it’s self-esteem that allows a person to stand up.”
On race: “Prejudice is a burden which confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.”
On emotions: “I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.”
Timeless insights from a treasured teacher likely to touch lives for generations to come.