"Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood," writes Frank McCourt in Angela's Ashes. "Worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." Welcome, then, to the pinnacle of the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. Born in Brooklyn in 1930 to recent Irish immigrants Malachy and Angela McCourt, Frank grew up in Limerick after his parents returned to Ireland because of poor prospects in America. It turns out that prospects weren't so great back in the old country either--not with Malachy for a father. A chronically unemployed and nearly unemployable alcoholic, he appears to be the model on which many of our more insulting cliches about drunken Irish manhood are based. Mix in abject poverty and frequent death and illness and you have all the makings of a truly difficult early life. Fortunately, in McCourt's able hands it also has all the makings for a compelling memoir
I enjoyed this book back when it was first released. Much better than the movie. The movie was such a disappointment but Frank McCourt wrote a very moving, and quite sad account of his life in Ireland way back when. Good quick read, don't bother with the film.
Excellent story telling especially for a first book. I loved this one from front to back. It is told so vividly, you feel as if you are watching a movie.The story brings out how painfully cruel poverty is. Made me aware of all of the things that are taken for granted each and every day. We dont even realize how much we do have. I love how the author used humor in telling his story and how he could find that and bring it out amidst the horror. I honestly didn't expect to even like this book but then fell in love with it. I would recommend this memoir to everyone that hasn't yet read it--you will love it too, without a doubt.
If you enjoy reading about bad parents, alcoholism, extreme poverty, illness, and death, then by all means pick up Angela's Ashes. Why is it that many of the "critically acclaimed" books are unenduringly depressing? I understand that this is a memoir, and it is a miracle that Frank McCourt and some of his siblings survived this kind of upbringing, but it isn't exactly what I want to read about in my spare time.
"Angela's Ashes" was an amazing memoir that allowed the reader to see that there are so many things in our present day lives that we take for granted, while others around us barely have enough to survive. Frank McCourt was one of the latter. He survived against the odds while the world seemed stacked against him. During a time of great poverty the McCourt family kept their heads above water, literally in some occasions. While issues regarding children may upset you the story of his first communion will have you laughing. This is a great book for everyone.
what could possibly be left to say about 'angela's ashes'? it would be like writing a review of 'the lion king' on broadway. here's the deal. you know its brilliant. you know its critically acclaimed. now you can find out why.
I thought this book (and movie as well) were interesting and thought provoking. I was very surprised when the family returned to Ireland after having come to America, but not be able to make it. Their life in Ireland wasn't any better ... than if they had just stayed in America. It makes you wonder how families (mothers in particular) survived such poverty, heartache and death. I am interested in reading McCourt's other book "'Tis" as well, especially since this is the last chapter and ending of the book.
I am a bit surprised that its on the extra reading for my DD's High School Independent Novel reading list ... as some of the parts get rather sexually explicit. But I don't think it's that bad and wouldn't dream of banning it.
This was a fast but incredibly enjoyable read. Just when you think the book is headed in one direction, it takes an entirely different (and many times comic) path. The book is similar to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn although adds more humor to the mix.
This was an incredible book, absolutely incredible. I refused to read it for years as I was afraid it would just be way too depressing....well, I got brave & am so grateful I didn't continue denying this book. It is unfathomably sad in parts yet never despairing & what I loved the most was just when I thought I couldn't take anymore nor cry any harder -- the next instant I'm laughing so hard that I'm still crying.
Angela's Ashes is very well written and is a perfect balance of all the good and bad traits found in the human being.
This is a very difficult book to read. Few of us have experienced such poverty and to read and know this is not fiction but the true life accounting of the author caused me to feel extreme discomfort. But, like watching a car wreck, you cannot help but continue on through accounts of hunger, pain, and hurtful family relationships. In fact, I ordered the follow-on book of Frank McCourt's life so that I might understand where he landed and how he saved himself from the utter despair of his childhood. Great book.
I read this book because I loved "Ireland" so much. I really enjoyed most of it, but felt let down at the end. I feel that the whole feeling of the book is brought down by the end. Of course it is a memoir, so I guess there was no choice?
This is one of those books that you can't put down. Mainly because you begin to wonder if things will EVER look up for Frank! The descriptions of that particular place (Limerick) and that particular time (pre and just post WWII) will stick with me forever.
The story is tragic and emotionally draining but it just may make you appreciate your own childhood. The author's writing style is much like reading over journal entries and the thoughts can be a bit "choppy" but as the book progresses, it is easier to appreciate.
This is the only book by this author that I found gripping. I rushed out to get the sequel ('Tis) but it fell flat for me. This one, however, was captivating. I couldn't stop reading it. It was so fantastic. All the "hype" was on-target.
Every once in while, a lucky reader comes across a book that makes an indelible impression, a book you immediately want to share with everyone around you.l..Frank McCourt's life, and his searing telling of it revelas all we need to know about being human. Linnea Lannon, Detroit Free Press.
One of the most depressing novels I've ever read. I enjoyed it, if you could use that word on such a downer of a book, but I had to take a break every so often to make sure I didn't get too morose and not want to finish.
Excellent autobiography of the author, Frank McCourt and his family and their struggles living in poverty in Ireland during the 1930'a and early 40's. This book won the Pulitzer Prize. Published 1996 and 1999.
It started off a little slow, but the initial struggle is worth it. McCourt does a wonderful job describing his life in the 1930s. His descriptive passages make you feel like you are there, experiencing life with him.
Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood," writes Frank McCourt in Angela's Ashes. "Worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." Welcome, then, to the pinnacle of the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. Born in Brooklyn in 1930 to recent Irish immigrants Malachy and Angela McCourt, Frank grew up in Limerick after his parents returned to Ireland because of poor prospects in America. It turns out that prospects weren't so great back in the old country either--not with Malachy for a father. A chronically unemployed and nearly unemployable alcoholic, he appears to be the model on which many of our more insulting cliches about drunken Irish manhood are based. Mix in abject poverty and frequent death and illness and you have all the makings of a truly difficult early life. Fortunately, in McCourt's able hands it also has all the makings for a compelling memoir.
"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.