This joyful presentation of Angelou's life is the perfect evocation of the person she was and the person she became after a staggering string of adversities. Oprah Winfrey's foreword is excellent; she and Angelou share a striking number of experiences. Coauthors Gillespie and Richard A. Long are old friends of Angelou's, while contributor Rosa Johnson Butler is her niece. Angelou began life as Marguerite Johnson but eventually changed her name; she tried and excelled at many hobbies and careers, including author, singer, professor, playwright, gourmet cook, dancer (with Alvin Ailey), humanitarian, and especially poet. At age seven she was raped and stopped talking for six years. She had strong female influences, particularly her grandmother; later in life she grew closer to her difficult mother. In essence, Angelou lived the life about which she sings, writes, and speaks. Reader Dion Graham skillfully presents female intonation and emotion, commendable but rare from a male narrator. This splendid book covers great and small events in Angelou's life, with quotes and sources clearly cited; essential for all libraries.--Susan G. Baird, Chicago Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.