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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.
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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.
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Beautiful and heartbreaking.
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