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"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.
YA. 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.?Patricia Noonan, Prince William Public Library, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Excellent book couldn't put it down, was shocked at the way they had to live. Loved the Irish sayings, was so well written. Read morePublished 1 month ago by charmaine lomond
If you appreciate your life now, wait until you digest this epic memoir of sorrow, survival and emmense poverty. Read morePublished 9 months ago by marci
I visited Frank McCourt's school while I was in Ireland. Good book and very sad.Published 12 months ago by Janet King
Not quite as compelling as 'The Glass Castle' by Jeannette Walls, but very interesting as a follow up. I'd recommend it.Published on Oct. 4 2013 by Amazon Customer
I have read and re read this several times. Once after reading a terrible autobiography, so I could scrub the poorly written , uninteresting story out of my mind, and replace it... Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2013 by Seana Veinot
I loved the story. It is very relatable in many aspects.
I would recomend it to everybody. I lived similar story.
Didn't know it would be a very much shortened version of the book! Bought it to replace a much loved original version, and was very disappointed.Published on May 13 2013 by Maureen McKelvie