Reader reviews for Angela's Ashes: A Memoir

One of the hallmarks of a good memoir, for me, is the author's willingness to "bleed out" on the page. McCourt does, in a disconcertingly cheerful, matter-of-fact way. His revelations about his boyhood and is family are made more rending by his refusal to engage in self-pity. A terrific read.
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I will start by stating that, I am not a big reader of non-fiction. I saw the cover and wondered why the boy looked so sad and lonely. This is one of the most depressing books I have ever read. Frank McCourt tells the story of his family with such heartbreaking reality but with a humorous side as well. It made me hug my children and be thankful for all we have. I couldn't put the book down until I found out what happened to the little boy on the cover. And bought the sequel, Tis before I even finished Angela's Ashes.
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Irish family boys born in America, family goes BACK to Ireland (who does that?) where they live in poverty with a drunken father and mother who has babies who keep dying. The story of Frank and his brother.
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Whatever you do, make sure that you’re in a happy frame of mind when you start reading this, or you might feel like slitting your wrists. This memoir of a Limerick childhood is NOT going to make you want to rush off to visit the Emerald Isle any time soon. McCourt’s childhood is a litany of grinding poverty, embellished with a dissolute father who regularly drinks his dole money and leaves his wife and children to more grinding poverty. There is never any food in the house, but the family is always sure to receive a steady diet of Catholic piety from the social agencies of the day. For all that, you get the feeling that McCourt regrets little of his childhood. It made him the man he is today, surely. But I was more reminded of the Monty Python ‘shoebox in a hole in the middle of the road’ skit than anything else. Lyrical, sad, poignant and all with an Irish lilt. Thank God that’s over.
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Good lord this is a sad story. I felt like I personally knew the McCourt family and was watching their struggles from an arm's length, yet powerless to actually do anything about it. Frank McCourt is an incredible writer.
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I was hesitant to get this book because I thought it would be devilshly boring, but I am glad to say I was proved wrong. I found Frank McCourt's autobiography very insightful and funny. I particularly liked the parts when Frank is praying or is in confession. He is so guilty and nervous, it just made me laugh. Even thought it does tell of the horrors growing up in lower class Ireland, I thouroghly enjoyed it.
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Great story. McCourt's writing draws you into his sad existance in Ireland and follows through the trials and struggles of this family.The book will make you weep, have tissues nearby. A great read, finely written.
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I can't get over the fact that this is a true story. Poverty so deep it could only be fiction-but its not. Totally blown away by this story. Hope that the next book is as good. Need to know what transpired and brought McCourt to where he is today
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Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" is a memoir of Frank McCourt's childhood and journey from Ireland to America. This piece of non-fiction gives the reader a glimpse into an impoverished Irish family's live during the early 1940's up until the late 60's. Mr. McCourt recalls memories of his father's heavy alcoholism, poverty, loss of siblings, religion, and his mother's struggle to keep their family alive. At times this book can be heart-wrenching, and then one could turn the page and laugh out loud about the antics McCourt's brother and his self would contrive. While McCourt endures years of emotional abuse by loved ones, school officials, and his peers, he seems to have the drive and the intelligence to know he wants something better in his life, so he makes a point to always look on the bright side even when the home they live in floods with sewage from the public lavatory. He nearly spends his entire life starving for substance in terms of food, love, and knowledge. In the end, McCourt works an endless amount of jobs to save and go to America, and in doing this, the reader gets a idea of what it might feel like to be free from a situation that would give him an unhappy life. Although the reader only gets the image of McCourt getting off the boat to America, one knows he is off to bigger and better things in his life. This is one of my favorite non-fiction books. I've read it a couple of times and each time, I cry, laugh, hope, and be thankful to live in a place where I have choices and support from my family. To me, this book can change the way people look at immigration. People truly deserve to be happy and free, and America is "the home of the free." Also, McCourt's imagery used in this book makes one feel like they are in Ireland, smelling boiling cabbage, walking through the flooded streets of Ireland, and feeling shammed by the priests that pick on him in class. This book would defiantly be a book that would need approval from parents before reading in class. I read this book in my Non-fiction Prose class at Cameron. Such topics mentioned are sex, alcoholism, rape, death, and domestic violence. But that said, these themes are real and cannot be worse that reading the "Twilight" books. Maybe this book could launch a discussion about immigration. Even better, the teacher could have the students write a short memoir of their life, but keep the language and content clean. Journal writing could also be prompted. Another topic that could be discussed is Frank McCourt's ability to overcome tragic obstacles in his life. Moreover, McCourt was not ashamed of where he came from and his situation. He embraced his challenges and moved forward. i think he would be a good example for children to realize they may have flaws, and no one is perfect, but everyone has a chance to change their destiny.
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Such poverty as I could never imagine, but handled with such grace and humor. This book is a treasure.
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