Mini Reviews: Maya Angelou and Catcher in the Rye

In which I finally catch up with a couple of classic books. | A book review by Newbery and Beyond

These two classic books have been on my list for a long time, and I finally got around to reading them! But I didn’t have very strong feelings toward either of them.

Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry

I picked this up from my library because I’ve been wanting to read more of Maya Angelou, despite the fact that I’m totally not into poetry. (Honestly, I just don’t get it…)

Some of the lines that struck me most were these:

You’re Africa to me / At brightest dawn.
–To a Husband

Here then is my Christian lack: / If I’m struck then I’ll strike back.
–Lord, in My Heart

The poetry was beautiful, sometimes wrenching, and almost always clear. I do appreciate poetry that has a point (that is, a point that I can easily grasp–yes, I’m a total idiot about poetry). Still, it’s not really my thing. I’m hopeful that I’ll enjoy I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings better.

Rating: Good but Forgettable

The Catcher in the Rye

Okay, so I’ve been hearing about this book practically all my life, and I know for a lot of high schoolers it’s required reading. I’ve also heard from a lot of people who hated it. But I read straight through it and just felt kind of… bored. I guess the point is that Holden is experiencing the alienation that a lot of teenagers feel as they grow up? But honestly, he was bored, so I was bored. Possibly I didn’t give this book enough of a chance, but since I’m not in school anymore, no one can force me to go back and analyze the literary themes. So there!

Rating: Meh

P.S. If you want to see some other books in which I felt like I was missing something, check out my reviews of The Color Purple and Cold Comfort Farm. If you have a book that everyone else loved or said was a classic that you didn’t “get,” I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

About Monica

I am obsessed with all things books. I'm a music teacher by day and a freelance editor by night.

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