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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
ISBN: 9780684864839
List price: $13.99
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This is one of those books that permanently expands your perspective.more
I think this book has a lot of emotion you have to connect to feel these people's pain...more
Amazing.more
Sad but very well written memoir. Interesting all the way through.more
This book is awesomemore
Angela is a selfish s-bag of a mother... I was a less angry person before I read this book.more
I'm not a big fan of memoirs in general, but this one blew me away. Both poetic and real.more
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.more
Ah and what a lovely book Angela's Ashes 'tis. Frank McCourt recalls his horrible youth with such humor and charm that it kept me smiling most of the time. McCourt was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1930 to Irish immigrants. The family lived in poverty in New York but became truly destitute after they moved back to Ireland in the mid-1930's. The father is a good-natured but irresponsible alcoholic who can't get or keep a job and spends any money he gets at the pub leaving the family starving and living in unspeakable circumstances. The mother somehow manages to struggle on through the death of three children, living in a house which floods all winter, where there are no blankets, only old coats on the beds, where the children have one set of ragged clothes and shoes full of holes and where the biggest dream imaginable is to someday have enough money to afford an entire egg for each member of the family. Frank, an intelligent boy, has as his goal leaving school at 13 and getting a job as a messenger boy so he can support his family. And yet, he grows up to write an account of these years that is full of warmth. It's a treasure.more
This is an absolute classic. I am amazed that McCourt did not kill his father. McCourt came out of this terrible experience a positive and thoughtful man. I love him.more
Where I got the book: my bookshelf (it was assigned for one of my kids' English classes)I finally got round to reading the book after listening--twice--to the excellent audiobook, read by Frank McCourt himself. So I had the music of his voice with me as I read. But the music is also in the writing.I've often seen literary agents write that to be published, a memoir has to have a strong voice and a really unique story. McCourt wins on both accounts. Reading this book is exactly like having someone sitting opposite you, telling his story; the writing rambles on, without punctuated dialogue, and yet it's as clear as a bell.And what a story. Brutal, poignant, touching and funny. There are two points in the story which always, on audio or on the page, reduce me to tears, and both involve a priest. The memoir is steeped in Irish Catholic faith and superstition, seen from the distance of years with fond, mocking eyes. McCourt doesn't spare himself or his parents; I find myself wondering if he's left anything out at all. But the story's suffused with wisdom and understanding, even for his drink-addicted father.This is a book you should read if you want to understand what people mean when they say a writer should have a strong voice. The rhythms of McCourt's writing stayed with me for hours after I put the book down.more
A difficult read for those of us who have never been poor, who have had loving and helpful families, who have not had drug or alcohol addictions in the family.The style was different ... stream of consciousness. Quite realistic. Not enjoyable but important.more
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.more
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.more
Most people thought that this book was terribly depressing, but I laughed out loud many times throughout the book. So many memoirs today are horror stories about growing up in dysfuntional families. Frank McCourt could have written one of those, but somehow this memoir is full of life, love, and humor. His father was a terrible alcoholic, but he was also a sentimental loving father who loved to sing. I also read Tis and Malachy McCourt's A Monk Swimming. But Angela's Ashes was my favorite.more
I have wanted to read this book for a long time. It won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Biography & Autobiography.The first hour was torturously boring. Sadly, the book became more interesting as the tragedies started occurring.As a mom, I cannot fathom how Angela was able to get through the heartaches she had to endure. As a parent, I am equally appalled at how selfish Frank’s father was - how he could let his children go without because of his own selfish desires.It was particularly poignant to hear the story narrated by the author. I felt as though he was in the room, sitting beside me, tell me his story.I was not satisfied with the ending…I want to know what happens next! Frank had to beg, borrow, and steal to get to America; how did his behaviour change (or not) after he got there? Did he send money back to help out his mother and brothers? Did they stay in Ireland or come to America as well? Whatever happened to his father?I realize now that there is a sequel called ‘Tis, which I feel compelled to read. I watched the movie after reading the book, and I thought it was very well done and lived up to how I had pictured things in my mind.MY RATING: 4 stars!more
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.more
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 todaymore
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.more
Gives an excellent portrayal of lower class life in pre-wwII Ireland. Somewhat disturbing, though. Some of the choices Angela had to make to survive are heartbreaking.more
I loved this book. A true tale, makes you remember where you came from and how lucky you are.more
Given the rave reviews, not to mention the Pulitzer Prize, Angela's Ashes was a disappointment. Certainly, McCourt's childhood was stunningly impoverished and miserable; I agree it is a "wonder how [he] survived at all." (11). But I found the read painfully long and slow.more
Such poverty as I could never imagine, but handled with such grace and humor. This book is a treasure.more
How do you tell a tale of a poverty-stricken upbringing with humor and grace? Frank McCourt does it in his memoir in a way that will keep you turning pages long after the last time you said to yourself, "I really must put this book down and get ... done."After the tragic loss of his 7-week-old sister Margaret, Frank's family (dad, mom, 3-year-old brother Malachy and 1-year-old twins Oliver and Eugene) moves back to Ireland when Frank is four. They are promptly turned away from their paternal grandparents' house and sent to Dublin, where they are told that Frank's father should be able to get some compensation for having fought for Ireland's cause. This turns out to be untrue, and, penniless, they end up at the police station, where only the kindness of the officers gives them the money they need to continue to their maternal grandmother's home.Frank's father is a drunkard from Northern Ireland who can't keep a job longer than the third paycheck, and even the dole money he is given when out of work winds up going to drink rather than to feeding his family. They live with fleas, in a unit that floods on the lower level, forcing them to spend much of their time upstairs.The reader finds out about the peculiar prejudice of the southern Irish against those of the North, easily distinguishable by their accents, and also about the injustice bred by poverty. We see Frank and his family going hungry while other families eat, and Frank wishing that someone else could be his mother simply because then he could always have mashed potatoes or soup. Siblings sicken and die, and his mother is shamefully reduced to begging for scraps to feed her children. Other fathers go to England to work, as does Frank's father, but, unlike the other fathers, no money is sent to his family. In spite of Frank's intelligence and the recommendation of his schoolmaster, Frank is turned away as an altar boy due to his poverty, and other doors are closed to him as well.In spite of it all, there is hope and laughter in this novel. There are people we want to punch, and people we want to hug. There is the small joy of having enough to buy a piece of candy or go to the movie, and the larger joy of sometimes having a full meal or a couple of coins in your pocket.This is a tug-at-your-heart, in your face look at a hardscrabble life that many of us couldn't imagine, written by someone who falls in love with the words of Shakespeare and with Wodehouse novels while recovering from typhoid fever in the hospital. It is a tale that all readers will love, and I highly recommend it for anyone's shelves.QUOTESShe says that if Dad's job lasts we'll get proper cups and maybe saucers and some day, with the help of God and His Blessed Mother, we'll have sheets on the bed and if we save a long time a blanket or two instead of those old coats which people must have left behind during the Great Famine.That dog is a right Hindu, so she is, and that's where I found her mother wandering around Bangalore. If ever you're getting a dog, Francis, make sure it's a Buddhist. Good-natured dogs, the Buddhists. Never, never get a Mahommedan. They'll eat you sleeping. Never a Catholic dog. They'll eat you every day including Fridays. Your mind is your house and if you fill it with rubbish from the cinemas it will rot in your head. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.more
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.more
I don’t read memoirs. To be honest, this is probably the only one I have ever read. They aren’t part of my regular reading fare and I somehow don’t think that will change. This particular book was recommended to me by a former co-worker about nine years ago and she actually lent me her book so I would read it. She kept telling me how funny and sad the story was and I kept saying, “That’s great except I don’t read memoirs.” Finally, I gave in and loved the book so much I bought my own copy.It is funny, it’s also so sad that it did make me cry in places. The poverty he experiences growing up, the hunger, the death, and the shame he feels for his family’s position are heart wrenching. McCourt writes in such a way that even though you feel so hurt by his situation you also want to laugh because he found humor is so many little things in life.If you don’t like memoirs, this would be an excellent starting point. I can’t say it made me go out and buy another memoir but I found an appreciation for this genre in Frank McCourt’s story.more
Frank McCourt's childhood autobiography follows him from his school days to his relationship with his alcoholic father to his departure from Ireland to America.McCourt's work is an excellent tool for examining writing style and word choice and can provide room for discussion of World War II era Europe and the challenges that poverty presents. As a warning, this book does contain some explicit sexual content, as well as numerous references to alcohol abuse.more
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.more
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.more
Read all 130 reviews

Reviews

This is one of those books that permanently expands your perspective.more
I think this book has a lot of emotion you have to connect to feel these people's pain...more
Amazing.more
Sad but very well written memoir. Interesting all the way through.more
This book is awesomemore
Angela is a selfish s-bag of a mother... I was a less angry person before I read this book.more
I'm not a big fan of memoirs in general, but this one blew me away. Both poetic and real.more
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.more
Ah and what a lovely book Angela's Ashes 'tis. Frank McCourt recalls his horrible youth with such humor and charm that it kept me smiling most of the time. McCourt was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1930 to Irish immigrants. The family lived in poverty in New York but became truly destitute after they moved back to Ireland in the mid-1930's. The father is a good-natured but irresponsible alcoholic who can't get or keep a job and spends any money he gets at the pub leaving the family starving and living in unspeakable circumstances. The mother somehow manages to struggle on through the death of three children, living in a house which floods all winter, where there are no blankets, only old coats on the beds, where the children have one set of ragged clothes and shoes full of holes and where the biggest dream imaginable is to someday have enough money to afford an entire egg for each member of the family. Frank, an intelligent boy, has as his goal leaving school at 13 and getting a job as a messenger boy so he can support his family. And yet, he grows up to write an account of these years that is full of warmth. It's a treasure.more
This is an absolute classic. I am amazed that McCourt did not kill his father. McCourt came out of this terrible experience a positive and thoughtful man. I love him.more
Where I got the book: my bookshelf (it was assigned for one of my kids' English classes)I finally got round to reading the book after listening--twice--to the excellent audiobook, read by Frank McCourt himself. So I had the music of his voice with me as I read. But the music is also in the writing.I've often seen literary agents write that to be published, a memoir has to have a strong voice and a really unique story. McCourt wins on both accounts. Reading this book is exactly like having someone sitting opposite you, telling his story; the writing rambles on, without punctuated dialogue, and yet it's as clear as a bell.And what a story. Brutal, poignant, touching and funny. There are two points in the story which always, on audio or on the page, reduce me to tears, and both involve a priest. The memoir is steeped in Irish Catholic faith and superstition, seen from the distance of years with fond, mocking eyes. McCourt doesn't spare himself or his parents; I find myself wondering if he's left anything out at all. But the story's suffused with wisdom and understanding, even for his drink-addicted father.This is a book you should read if you want to understand what people mean when they say a writer should have a strong voice. The rhythms of McCourt's writing stayed with me for hours after I put the book down.more
A difficult read for those of us who have never been poor, who have had loving and helpful families, who have not had drug or alcohol addictions in the family.The style was different ... stream of consciousness. Quite realistic. Not enjoyable but important.more
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.more
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.more
Most people thought that this book was terribly depressing, but I laughed out loud many times throughout the book. So many memoirs today are horror stories about growing up in dysfuntional families. Frank McCourt could have written one of those, but somehow this memoir is full of life, love, and humor. His father was a terrible alcoholic, but he was also a sentimental loving father who loved to sing. I also read Tis and Malachy McCourt's A Monk Swimming. But Angela's Ashes was my favorite.more
I have wanted to read this book for a long time. It won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Biography & Autobiography.The first hour was torturously boring. Sadly, the book became more interesting as the tragedies started occurring.As a mom, I cannot fathom how Angela was able to get through the heartaches she had to endure. As a parent, I am equally appalled at how selfish Frank’s father was - how he could let his children go without because of his own selfish desires.It was particularly poignant to hear the story narrated by the author. I felt as though he was in the room, sitting beside me, tell me his story.I was not satisfied with the ending…I want to know what happens next! Frank had to beg, borrow, and steal to get to America; how did his behaviour change (or not) after he got there? Did he send money back to help out his mother and brothers? Did they stay in Ireland or come to America as well? Whatever happened to his father?I realize now that there is a sequel called ‘Tis, which I feel compelled to read. I watched the movie after reading the book, and I thought it was very well done and lived up to how I had pictured things in my mind.MY RATING: 4 stars!more
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.more
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 todaymore
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.more
Gives an excellent portrayal of lower class life in pre-wwII Ireland. Somewhat disturbing, though. Some of the choices Angela had to make to survive are heartbreaking.more
I loved this book. A true tale, makes you remember where you came from and how lucky you are.more
Given the rave reviews, not to mention the Pulitzer Prize, Angela's Ashes was a disappointment. Certainly, McCourt's childhood was stunningly impoverished and miserable; I agree it is a "wonder how [he] survived at all." (11). But I found the read painfully long and slow.more
Such poverty as I could never imagine, but handled with such grace and humor. This book is a treasure.more
How do you tell a tale of a poverty-stricken upbringing with humor and grace? Frank McCourt does it in his memoir in a way that will keep you turning pages long after the last time you said to yourself, "I really must put this book down and get ... done."After the tragic loss of his 7-week-old sister Margaret, Frank's family (dad, mom, 3-year-old brother Malachy and 1-year-old twins Oliver and Eugene) moves back to Ireland when Frank is four. They are promptly turned away from their paternal grandparents' house and sent to Dublin, where they are told that Frank's father should be able to get some compensation for having fought for Ireland's cause. This turns out to be untrue, and, penniless, they end up at the police station, where only the kindness of the officers gives them the money they need to continue to their maternal grandmother's home.Frank's father is a drunkard from Northern Ireland who can't keep a job longer than the third paycheck, and even the dole money he is given when out of work winds up going to drink rather than to feeding his family. They live with fleas, in a unit that floods on the lower level, forcing them to spend much of their time upstairs.The reader finds out about the peculiar prejudice of the southern Irish against those of the North, easily distinguishable by their accents, and also about the injustice bred by poverty. We see Frank and his family going hungry while other families eat, and Frank wishing that someone else could be his mother simply because then he could always have mashed potatoes or soup. Siblings sicken and die, and his mother is shamefully reduced to begging for scraps to feed her children. Other fathers go to England to work, as does Frank's father, but, unlike the other fathers, no money is sent to his family. In spite of Frank's intelligence and the recommendation of his schoolmaster, Frank is turned away as an altar boy due to his poverty, and other doors are closed to him as well.In spite of it all, there is hope and laughter in this novel. There are people we want to punch, and people we want to hug. There is the small joy of having enough to buy a piece of candy or go to the movie, and the larger joy of sometimes having a full meal or a couple of coins in your pocket.This is a tug-at-your-heart, in your face look at a hardscrabble life that many of us couldn't imagine, written by someone who falls in love with the words of Shakespeare and with Wodehouse novels while recovering from typhoid fever in the hospital. It is a tale that all readers will love, and I highly recommend it for anyone's shelves.QUOTESShe says that if Dad's job lasts we'll get proper cups and maybe saucers and some day, with the help of God and His Blessed Mother, we'll have sheets on the bed and if we save a long time a blanket or two instead of those old coats which people must have left behind during the Great Famine.That dog is a right Hindu, so she is, and that's where I found her mother wandering around Bangalore. If ever you're getting a dog, Francis, make sure it's a Buddhist. Good-natured dogs, the Buddhists. Never, never get a Mahommedan. They'll eat you sleeping. Never a Catholic dog. They'll eat you every day including Fridays. Your mind is your house and if you fill it with rubbish from the cinemas it will rot in your head. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.more
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.more
I don’t read memoirs. To be honest, this is probably the only one I have ever read. They aren’t part of my regular reading fare and I somehow don’t think that will change. This particular book was recommended to me by a former co-worker about nine years ago and she actually lent me her book so I would read it. She kept telling me how funny and sad the story was and I kept saying, “That’s great except I don’t read memoirs.” Finally, I gave in and loved the book so much I bought my own copy.It is funny, it’s also so sad that it did make me cry in places. The poverty he experiences growing up, the hunger, the death, and the shame he feels for his family’s position are heart wrenching. McCourt writes in such a way that even though you feel so hurt by his situation you also want to laugh because he found humor is so many little things in life.If you don’t like memoirs, this would be an excellent starting point. I can’t say it made me go out and buy another memoir but I found an appreciation for this genre in Frank McCourt’s story.more
Frank McCourt's childhood autobiography follows him from his school days to his relationship with his alcoholic father to his departure from Ireland to America.McCourt's work is an excellent tool for examining writing style and word choice and can provide room for discussion of World War II era Europe and the challenges that poverty presents. As a warning, this book does contain some explicit sexual content, as well as numerous references to alcohol abuse.more
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.more
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.more
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