Mary Karr and Maya Angelou are talented authors of both poems and memoirs. With the remembered perceptions of a child and the skills of a mature artist these women recount the early years of their lives. These are honest stories about childhoods, not books written for children. The authors are plain spoken about the political and economic conditions they lived through, their sexuality and adolescence, so while they never lose the beauty and command of the language, the content of these memoirs is frank. This is to say that they are occasionally painful as well as joyful and celebratory. They are all well worth reading not only for their honesty, but also for their command of the language.