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"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."
So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy-- exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling-- does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.
Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors--yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.
Angela's Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.

Topics: Ireland, Brooklyn, Dublin, 1990s, Depression Era, Based on a True Story, Touching, Emotional, Heartbreaking, Poignant, Poverty, Immigration, Family, Childhood, Alcoholism, Catholicism, Coming of Age, Made into a Movie, Death, Mothers, Great Depression, Survival, Siblings, Abuse, Fathers, Grief, Hope, American Dream, First Person Narration, 20th Century, Male Author, Irish Author, and Haunting

Published: Scribner on Dec 17, 1998
ISBN: 9780684864839
List price: $13.99
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This is a very good and interesting book. You find yourself laughing at his stories then you realize just what a horrible, impoverished childhood he had. A marvelous story teller that gives you great insight into the life of an Irish family.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A nonfiction work that goes down as smoothly as any novel. This is another book I've read at least 15 times, although it is in better condition than Up in the Old Hotel. McCourt's Irish humor makes the reader want to visit Limerick and meet the locals, despite the poverty and the rainy weather. A must read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've spent the last week in Limerick, Ireland, in the pages of Angela's Ashes. Some parts of the book brought tears to my eyes as the author described the hunger, the lack of clothing and fuel in the winter, the disease, and the unsanitary living conditions he and too many others endured. Occasionally the tears became laughter, as when young Frankie narrates the events of his first communion day. Less skilled writers might succumb to expressions of bitterness or self-pity, but McCourt wisely avoids these temptations. His voice throughout is that of the child he was, not that of the adult he is now. It engages the reader in a way that a psychoanalytical account could not.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is a wonderful book, it's very touching, inspirational, and a really good read. Any Jeopardy fan may notice that they often use this book as one of those clue things, so if its good enough for Jeopardy, its good enough for me. This book gives insight into the life of Frank McCourt and what the conditions were like for him and other families. Even if you are not interested in reading one of those touching "my life story" sad type books, its a really good read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A beautifully written memoir of childhood poverty in 1920s/30s Ireland (Limerick). It is well summarised in its opening:"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." Frank McCourt's account of his deprived childhood manages to maintain humour, whilst not losing the pathos in the more tragic events in his childhood (including the loss of siblings and the absence of a feckless father).Although there has been some controversy regarding the veracity of these memoirs, I feel sure it is an accurate reflexion of the sort of conditions many experienced in Ireland in the early part of the 20th century. The brutality of the Catholic church (as well as some more compassionate moments), also rings true.Frank McCourt is very much a story-teller, and the book is very readable.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Beautiful and heartbreaking.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A moving story of life in the poverty of post-Depression and WWII Ireland. The rich dialog provides a wonderful insight into the inner workings of the characters, the complex relationships between characters, and the flavor of the times.I read this book with savings of less than 2 (possibly 1) living expenses. I continued for the "there's always someone worse off" effect, and even found that folks who regularly went to bed hungry (I never have) with absolutely no cash to their name (a place I've not yet been) can still feel that feeling. But I came away knowning that as tight as my finances are right now, I'm doing great. I'm grateful.There's a huge bit of hope theroughout the book, what with my knowing that he made it out OK. I'd suggest not reading too much hope into the dialog. I found that when I was just trying to be present with his current status that the book had a much more profound impact. Frank is not writing a "feel goo, hope conquers all" book. For me to read it that way missed a point. When I really dug down to think about what it must feel like to go to bed tired, hungry, wet, cold, flea-infested, in a family with no income, with a father whos occasional wages were all spent at the bar, I transcend my veiw of the world and enter his. That's a powerful place to get to.To his credit, Frank neither wrote too gloomy nor too hopeful. It was just what it was. That he could make it entertaining is a huge credit, and no doubt why it won a Pulitzer Prize.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I loved this book when I read it nine years ago. The way McCourt captured the Irish brogue in print was wonderful. Although many Irish-American friends said the overall story was too sad and depressing, I thought it was ultimately a tale of the triumph of the human spirit. McCourt is irreverently funny at times and a very gifted storyteller.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
These are the acknowledgements:"This is a small hymn to an exultation of women. (he goes on to list a whole bunch of women: relatives, editors, friends, supporters.) I am blessed among men."I read this and considered the title (Angela is his mother). I knew that the book was a memoir. I thought that perhaps his mother would be a pillar of extraordinary strength or maybe a ray of sunshine in a sky full of smog or something like that.I had a hard time admiring or even liking his mother. She, like many women of the time, wound up in a hard marriage with a man who couldn't keep a job and drank away the dole (welfare-ish) and giving birth to seven children. Her children keep becoming dreadfully ill and she doesnt' do anything about it until the situation becomes desperate. Eventually she does call the doctor, but it's usually too late. I'm not sure if I would have felt more sympathy or empathy if she hadn't called the doctor at all - financial strain being such a burden that they literally could not call a doctor - but she did: it just was long after she should have.Losing children is something that I can't personally imagine. I found myself unable to imagine what Angela must have gone through - but she didn't perseveare, she didn't pull herself up by her bootstraps, she didn't chin-up, she didn't take care of the children she had left. They ran wild and Frank, the oldest, had to steal food for his siblings.It wasn't just Angela that I had problems with. Frank's aunts and his grandmother weren't in the least bit supportive, enlightening, or sympathetic. I couldn't think of a single woman in the book that I truly liked - except for the girl in the hospital who recited poetry. Even the librarian pissed me off. It looked like she would be awesome, but eventually her true colors came out.I should also point out that, for the most part, the men didn't win any medals for valor, either. Every once in a while a very minor character would show some redeeming qualitites that I felt actually helped Frank instead of hurting him - Mr. Hannon, Mr. Timoney, the Franciscan brother who helped him deal with his guilt. But they were far between and usually were phased out of his life by circumstance.I don't know. I did enjoy the book - it perfectly evoked a hard, bitter time survived by hard, bitter people. I might have expected too much from the women in the book - but the acknowedgements really threw me and set me up for something entirely different.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Amazingly touching and funny book. McCourt's stream of consciousness writing style takes a little getting used to, but he has the ability to make you cry at his descriptions of a desperate situation one second, then you find yourself laughing through your tears in the next paragraph.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Incredible memoir of Frank's childhood growing up in Limerick, Ireland. I can't believe he survived at all. The poverty level that they were at - only clothes on their backs, very little food, tea and bread. At Christmas, they had a pig's head. They tore the beams from the house to burn to keep warm. Besides that, th rigidness of the teachers and the scare tactics of the priests were unbelievable.Although I enjoyed the book, I found it quite depressing. Sandy said she liked it because it spoke of resilience. My favorite part was the chapter on his first confession. "Bless me, father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession." He then went to communion and later that day threw up in his grandmother's backyard. She had a fit and made him return to confession. He said, "Bless me, faher, for I have sinned. It has been 24 hours since my last confession." He then told the priest he threw up God in his grandmother's backyard The priest said that was okay, just rinse it with water. He returned home and told his grandmother. She said, "Holy water or regular water." He returned to the confessional, "It has been five minutes since my last confession."read more
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Angela is a selfish s-bag of a mother... I was a less angry person before I read this book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A gripping story that chronicles a young man's life from boyhood to his late teens. It is wonderful writing and very emotional. It is full of a pain and agony, it made cry and grind my teeth in anger throughout the hard times in his life. The human spirit and periodic happyness peaks through the sadness at times. I loved the book!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
McCourt's memoir of a destitute childhood in New York and Ireland is both heartbreaking and hilarious. His memory for detail and dialogue continually astounded me. Although much of it is probably recreated, I still found it fantastically genuine. McCourt does not write with the perspective of a grown up looking back on his childhood, but rather with the actual voice of a child. It's impressive and lends such a genuineness to his writing that the reader is forced to visualize and empathize with young Frankie. I am greatly looking forward to his other memoirs and those of his brother, Malachy.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The story of McCourt and his trials of growing up poor in Ireland with a drunk for a father.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Others loved it -- I wasn't crazy about it! -- Typical Review: Despite impoverishing his family because of his alcoholism, McCourt's father passed on to his son a gift for superb storytelling. He told him about the great Irish heroes, the old days in Ireland, the people in their Limerick neighborhood, and the world beyond their shores. McCourt writes in the voice of the child?with no self-pity or review of events?and just retells the tales. He recounts his desperately poor early years, living on public assistance and losing three siblings, but manages to make the book funny and uplifting. Stories of trying on his parents' false teeth and his adventures as a post-office delivery boy will have readers laughing out loud. Young people will recognize the truth in these compelling tales; the emotions expressed; the descriptions of teachers, relatives, neighbors; and the casual cruelty adults show toward children. Readers will enjoy the humor and the music in the language. A vivid, wonderfully readable memoir.?read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is a powerful and moving memoir. While McCourt is certainly telling of some horrendous times, his humor is pervasive in this book as well as his others. I've heard him speak twice and it is the humor and wisdom that comes out there as well as in his writing.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I craved greasy fish n chips while reading this. There is a great flow to the book. I read the book years ago and there are still some touching images that stand out in my mind from it.read more
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This is one of my favorite books. I have read it two times. The story is heart warming and a story of struggle and of the human spirit. A spirit that never gives out despite heartbreaking circumstances. I recommend this book highly and the sequel novels from Frank McCourt.read more
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Found this book utterly absorbing, though pretty depressing as well. The abject poverty of the McCourt family is both shocking and demoralizing to witness. The memoir has a cadence that carried me along with remarkable swiftness. i read this entire book in less than 24 hours. i'm generally not a fan of putting song lyrics or poetry into the text of a novel, and this book had far too much of that for my taste. apart from that a satisfying, if not uplifting, read.read more
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I got about 100 pages into this book and started to find it repetitive so gave upread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Second time reading this grim, but not depressing portrayal of an Irish family who comes to America, and then returns to their homeland. Wonderfully written classic to be.read more
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I found this book far from depressing, like I'd heard from a few others. I loved the first few pages, and then settled into a slow pace reading it, even reading other books in between small spurts of reading it. When I hit the half-way mark, (and I'm not sure if this was because of the book or just because my windows of time reading it expanded) I didn't want to put it down.I laughed out loud a few times, and started tearing up only once.I'm excited to follow up with 'Tis.read more
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"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all." --Frank McCourt Frank McCourt opens a window on his impoverished childhood in Ireland with humor and wit in this touching memoir. He tells the story as both the author and narrator from the perspective of an adolescent looking out onto the world. His early childhood consisted of his mother and alcoholic father struggling to feed their family, battling poverty, and coping with the tragic death of Frank's younger sister. Soon after, the family moves back home to Ireland, where they experienced more losses to the family. As Frank grows older, life does not get easier, and he faces more hardships; hunger, neglect, poverty and harassment. Eventually Frank bids his farewell to Ireland for a fresh start in America.read more
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Everything you've heard about this book is true. It's vivid, brilliant and heartbreaking and opens your eyes to the little-known experiences of American and Irish poverty. McCourt writes with a sense of pathos, which he has a right to feel, but it did take away from the book a little bit for me. I preferred Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle for a clear, strong vision of the type of person poverty makes you become.read more
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VERY sad book about an extremely poor existance in Ireland. Worth reading.read more
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This is one of my favorite books of all times. And I'm no feckin' eejit.read more
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Wow. I look at my little children, who refuse to eat half the things I put in front of them just because the whim of the moment dictates that they don't like orange food, or that they would rather have peaches than grapes, or that they really wanted a PB&J instead of spaghetti. And here is this mother, in this book, watching her children literally die of starvation (and disease, and malnutrition, and whatever else is crawling around in the poverty they inhabit), and there is nothing she can do about it. Living in fleas, in filth, in actual unmitigated poverty of the kind I have never seen in this country, she does the very best she can, and you know what? So does the father. He is a scoundrel and a failure, but he is in a category of man with many others, and no matter how I tried, I could not hate him, because I felt he loved his chilren, and he always gave them his share of the food, and even though he drank every cent that ever came into his pocket, he was not to blame for their troubles.Angela's Ashes is driven by two strong questions. First, I know that Frank McCourt is now a famous author and a much lauded teacher, and so I know that he dragged himself out of it, through the typhoid and the starvation and the infections and rags, and out into a better place in the world. So the first question of the book is, How did that happen? The second question, implied by the title, is that the mother (Angela) will die. So how is that going to happen? That's the second question. The magic of this particular engine, this particular method of making me turn the pages, is that these questions are never overtly stated in the text, there isn't a "Now that I'm a teacher, I remember back when I was an urchin..." and we don't have any foreshadowing of the mother's death, or any foreshadowing of anything. Those questions that drove me insane with curiosity (How could he survive this? How could he?) were just buried in the fact that the book existed at all, and had that title.The other genius thing about this book is that the story has no "Now that I'm older and wiser and understand the world" type of context. Everything that happens in the story is filtered only through the consciousness of the main character at exactly that age in his life, whether it's that an angel brings babies and lays them on the stairs, or whether it's that the life of a messenger boy is the best he can hope for, or whether it's that devils will poke him with pitchforks for eternity, or whether it's one line of Shakespeare that infiltrates his education, we only see everything from right inside the character's point of view. Never the author, never the character later in life, only in the moment.Rather than making the facts of the book more palatable, because the character knows no better, this way of narrating the story actually makes it the more horrifying, because there's no author to step in and say, "And that's just how poor we were, that we had to burn the walls of our rooms, how sad, how dreadful." Which leaves the reader to think it. And there's no author to say, "And with that one line of Shakespeare, the whole possibility of language as art was lit up in me," it's left to the reader to discover that connection for himself. Brilliant writing, I mean, obviously, I have nothing to say that's not worshipful. Amazing, brilliant, fearful, desperate, grand.read more
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I found this book a little boring, i didnt finish itread more
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Synopsis: McCourt tells of his childhood in a family who suffered from extreme poverty.My Opinion: While at first the writing style was difficult to get in to, once the story started developing it was hard to put to down.read more
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Reviews

This is a very good and interesting book. You find yourself laughing at his stories then you realize just what a horrible, impoverished childhood he had. A marvelous story teller that gives you great insight into the life of an Irish family.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A nonfiction work that goes down as smoothly as any novel. This is another book I've read at least 15 times, although it is in better condition than Up in the Old Hotel. McCourt's Irish humor makes the reader want to visit Limerick and meet the locals, despite the poverty and the rainy weather. A must read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've spent the last week in Limerick, Ireland, in the pages of Angela's Ashes. Some parts of the book brought tears to my eyes as the author described the hunger, the lack of clothing and fuel in the winter, the disease, and the unsanitary living conditions he and too many others endured. Occasionally the tears became laughter, as when young Frankie narrates the events of his first communion day. Less skilled writers might succumb to expressions of bitterness or self-pity, but McCourt wisely avoids these temptations. His voice throughout is that of the child he was, not that of the adult he is now. It engages the reader in a way that a psychoanalytical account could not.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is a wonderful book, it's very touching, inspirational, and a really good read. Any Jeopardy fan may notice that they often use this book as one of those clue things, so if its good enough for Jeopardy, its good enough for me. This book gives insight into the life of Frank McCourt and what the conditions were like for him and other families. Even if you are not interested in reading one of those touching "my life story" sad type books, its a really good read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A beautifully written memoir of childhood poverty in 1920s/30s Ireland (Limerick). It is well summarised in its opening:"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." Frank McCourt's account of his deprived childhood manages to maintain humour, whilst not losing the pathos in the more tragic events in his childhood (including the loss of siblings and the absence of a feckless father).Although there has been some controversy regarding the veracity of these memoirs, I feel sure it is an accurate reflexion of the sort of conditions many experienced in Ireland in the early part of the 20th century. The brutality of the Catholic church (as well as some more compassionate moments), also rings true.Frank McCourt is very much a story-teller, and the book is very readable.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Beautiful and heartbreaking.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A moving story of life in the poverty of post-Depression and WWII Ireland. The rich dialog provides a wonderful insight into the inner workings of the characters, the complex relationships between characters, and the flavor of the times.I read this book with savings of less than 2 (possibly 1) living expenses. I continued for the "there's always someone worse off" effect, and even found that folks who regularly went to bed hungry (I never have) with absolutely no cash to their name (a place I've not yet been) can still feel that feeling. But I came away knowning that as tight as my finances are right now, I'm doing great. I'm grateful.There's a huge bit of hope theroughout the book, what with my knowing that he made it out OK. I'd suggest not reading too much hope into the dialog. I found that when I was just trying to be present with his current status that the book had a much more profound impact. Frank is not writing a "feel goo, hope conquers all" book. For me to read it that way missed a point. When I really dug down to think about what it must feel like to go to bed tired, hungry, wet, cold, flea-infested, in a family with no income, with a father whos occasional wages were all spent at the bar, I transcend my veiw of the world and enter his. That's a powerful place to get to.To his credit, Frank neither wrote too gloomy nor too hopeful. It was just what it was. That he could make it entertaining is a huge credit, and no doubt why it won a Pulitzer Prize.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I loved this book when I read it nine years ago. The way McCourt captured the Irish brogue in print was wonderful. Although many Irish-American friends said the overall story was too sad and depressing, I thought it was ultimately a tale of the triumph of the human spirit. McCourt is irreverently funny at times and a very gifted storyteller.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
These are the acknowledgements:"This is a small hymn to an exultation of women. (he goes on to list a whole bunch of women: relatives, editors, friends, supporters.) I am blessed among men."I read this and considered the title (Angela is his mother). I knew that the book was a memoir. I thought that perhaps his mother would be a pillar of extraordinary strength or maybe a ray of sunshine in a sky full of smog or something like that.I had a hard time admiring or even liking his mother. She, like many women of the time, wound up in a hard marriage with a man who couldn't keep a job and drank away the dole (welfare-ish) and giving birth to seven children. Her children keep becoming dreadfully ill and she doesnt' do anything about it until the situation becomes desperate. Eventually she does call the doctor, but it's usually too late. I'm not sure if I would have felt more sympathy or empathy if she hadn't called the doctor at all - financial strain being such a burden that they literally could not call a doctor - but she did: it just was long after she should have.Losing children is something that I can't personally imagine. I found myself unable to imagine what Angela must have gone through - but she didn't perseveare, she didn't pull herself up by her bootstraps, she didn't chin-up, she didn't take care of the children she had left. They ran wild and Frank, the oldest, had to steal food for his siblings.It wasn't just Angela that I had problems with. Frank's aunts and his grandmother weren't in the least bit supportive, enlightening, or sympathetic. I couldn't think of a single woman in the book that I truly liked - except for the girl in the hospital who recited poetry. Even the librarian pissed me off. It looked like she would be awesome, but eventually her true colors came out.I should also point out that, for the most part, the men didn't win any medals for valor, either. Every once in a while a very minor character would show some redeeming qualitites that I felt actually helped Frank instead of hurting him - Mr. Hannon, Mr. Timoney, the Franciscan brother who helped him deal with his guilt. But they were far between and usually were phased out of his life by circumstance.I don't know. I did enjoy the book - it perfectly evoked a hard, bitter time survived by hard, bitter people. I might have expected too much from the women in the book - but the acknowedgements really threw me and set me up for something entirely different.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Amazingly touching and funny book. McCourt's stream of consciousness writing style takes a little getting used to, but he has the ability to make you cry at his descriptions of a desperate situation one second, then you find yourself laughing through your tears in the next paragraph.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Incredible memoir of Frank's childhood growing up in Limerick, Ireland. I can't believe he survived at all. The poverty level that they were at - only clothes on their backs, very little food, tea and bread. At Christmas, they had a pig's head. They tore the beams from the house to burn to keep warm. Besides that, th rigidness of the teachers and the scare tactics of the priests were unbelievable.Although I enjoyed the book, I found it quite depressing. Sandy said she liked it because it spoke of resilience. My favorite part was the chapter on his first confession. "Bless me, father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession." He then went to communion and later that day threw up in his grandmother's backyard. She had a fit and made him return to confession. He said, "Bless me, faher, for I have sinned. It has been 24 hours since my last confession." He then told the priest he threw up God in his grandmother's backyard The priest said that was okay, just rinse it with water. He returned home and told his grandmother. She said, "Holy water or regular water." He returned to the confessional, "It has been five minutes since my last confession."
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Angela is a selfish s-bag of a mother... I was a less angry person before I read this book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A gripping story that chronicles a young man's life from boyhood to his late teens. It is wonderful writing and very emotional. It is full of a pain and agony, it made cry and grind my teeth in anger throughout the hard times in his life. The human spirit and periodic happyness peaks through the sadness at times. I loved the book!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
McCourt's memoir of a destitute childhood in New York and Ireland is both heartbreaking and hilarious. His memory for detail and dialogue continually astounded me. Although much of it is probably recreated, I still found it fantastically genuine. McCourt does not write with the perspective of a grown up looking back on his childhood, but rather with the actual voice of a child. It's impressive and lends such a genuineness to his writing that the reader is forced to visualize and empathize with young Frankie. I am greatly looking forward to his other memoirs and those of his brother, Malachy.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The story of McCourt and his trials of growing up poor in Ireland with a drunk for a father.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Others loved it -- I wasn't crazy about it! -- Typical Review: Despite impoverishing his family because of his alcoholism, McCourt's father passed on to his son a gift for superb storytelling. He told him about the great Irish heroes, the old days in Ireland, the people in their Limerick neighborhood, and the world beyond their shores. McCourt writes in the voice of the child?with no self-pity or review of events?and just retells the tales. He recounts his desperately poor early years, living on public assistance and losing three siblings, but manages to make the book funny and uplifting. Stories of trying on his parents' false teeth and his adventures as a post-office delivery boy will have readers laughing out loud. Young people will recognize the truth in these compelling tales; the emotions expressed; the descriptions of teachers, relatives, neighbors; and the casual cruelty adults show toward children. Readers will enjoy the humor and the music in the language. A vivid, wonderfully readable memoir.?
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is a powerful and moving memoir. While McCourt is certainly telling of some horrendous times, his humor is pervasive in this book as well as his others. I've heard him speak twice and it is the humor and wisdom that comes out there as well as in his writing.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I craved greasy fish n chips while reading this. There is a great flow to the book. I read the book years ago and there are still some touching images that stand out in my mind from it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is one of my favorite books. I have read it two times. The story is heart warming and a story of struggle and of the human spirit. A spirit that never gives out despite heartbreaking circumstances. I recommend this book highly and the sequel novels from Frank McCourt.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Found this book utterly absorbing, though pretty depressing as well. The abject poverty of the McCourt family is both shocking and demoralizing to witness. The memoir has a cadence that carried me along with remarkable swiftness. i read this entire book in less than 24 hours. i'm generally not a fan of putting song lyrics or poetry into the text of a novel, and this book had far too much of that for my taste. apart from that a satisfying, if not uplifting, read.
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I got about 100 pages into this book and started to find it repetitive so gave up
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Second time reading this grim, but not depressing portrayal of an Irish family who comes to America, and then returns to their homeland. Wonderfully written classic to be.
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I found this book far from depressing, like I'd heard from a few others. I loved the first few pages, and then settled into a slow pace reading it, even reading other books in between small spurts of reading it. When I hit the half-way mark, (and I'm not sure if this was because of the book or just because my windows of time reading it expanded) I didn't want to put it down.I laughed out loud a few times, and started tearing up only once.I'm excited to follow up with 'Tis.
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"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all." --Frank McCourt Frank McCourt opens a window on his impoverished childhood in Ireland with humor and wit in this touching memoir. He tells the story as both the author and narrator from the perspective of an adolescent looking out onto the world. His early childhood consisted of his mother and alcoholic father struggling to feed their family, battling poverty, and coping with the tragic death of Frank's younger sister. Soon after, the family moves back home to Ireland, where they experienced more losses to the family. As Frank grows older, life does not get easier, and he faces more hardships; hunger, neglect, poverty and harassment. Eventually Frank bids his farewell to Ireland for a fresh start in America.
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Everything you've heard about this book is true. It's vivid, brilliant and heartbreaking and opens your eyes to the little-known experiences of American and Irish poverty. McCourt writes with a sense of pathos, which he has a right to feel, but it did take away from the book a little bit for me. I preferred Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle for a clear, strong vision of the type of person poverty makes you become.
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VERY sad book about an extremely poor existance in Ireland. Worth reading.
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This is one of my favorite books of all times. And I'm no feckin' eejit.
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Wow. I look at my little children, who refuse to eat half the things I put in front of them just because the whim of the moment dictates that they don't like orange food, or that they would rather have peaches than grapes, or that they really wanted a PB&J instead of spaghetti. And here is this mother, in this book, watching her children literally die of starvation (and disease, and malnutrition, and whatever else is crawling around in the poverty they inhabit), and there is nothing she can do about it. Living in fleas, in filth, in actual unmitigated poverty of the kind I have never seen in this country, she does the very best she can, and you know what? So does the father. He is a scoundrel and a failure, but he is in a category of man with many others, and no matter how I tried, I could not hate him, because I felt he loved his chilren, and he always gave them his share of the food, and even though he drank every cent that ever came into his pocket, he was not to blame for their troubles.Angela's Ashes is driven by two strong questions. First, I know that Frank McCourt is now a famous author and a much lauded teacher, and so I know that he dragged himself out of it, through the typhoid and the starvation and the infections and rags, and out into a better place in the world. So the first question of the book is, How did that happen? The second question, implied by the title, is that the mother (Angela) will die. So how is that going to happen? That's the second question. The magic of this particular engine, this particular method of making me turn the pages, is that these questions are never overtly stated in the text, there isn't a "Now that I'm a teacher, I remember back when I was an urchin..." and we don't have any foreshadowing of the mother's death, or any foreshadowing of anything. Those questions that drove me insane with curiosity (How could he survive this? How could he?) were just buried in the fact that the book existed at all, and had that title.The other genius thing about this book is that the story has no "Now that I'm older and wiser and understand the world" type of context. Everything that happens in the story is filtered only through the consciousness of the main character at exactly that age in his life, whether it's that an angel brings babies and lays them on the stairs, or whether it's that the life of a messenger boy is the best he can hope for, or whether it's that devils will poke him with pitchforks for eternity, or whether it's one line of Shakespeare that infiltrates his education, we only see everything from right inside the character's point of view. Never the author, never the character later in life, only in the moment.Rather than making the facts of the book more palatable, because the character knows no better, this way of narrating the story actually makes it the more horrifying, because there's no author to step in and say, "And that's just how poor we were, that we had to burn the walls of our rooms, how sad, how dreadful." Which leaves the reader to think it. And there's no author to say, "And with that one line of Shakespeare, the whole possibility of language as art was lit up in me," it's left to the reader to discover that connection for himself. Brilliant writing, I mean, obviously, I have nothing to say that's not worshipful. Amazing, brilliant, fearful, desperate, grand.
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I found this book a little boring, i didnt finish it
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Synopsis: McCourt tells of his childhood in a family who suffered from extreme poverty.My Opinion: While at first the writing style was difficult to get in to, once the story started developing it was hard to put to down.
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