Frank McCourt, 1996
Simon & Schuster
Sometimes it's worth the wait. Having waited 40 years to tell his story, Frank McCourt doesn't pull any punches in his story of growing up dirt poor in Limerick, Ireland. Having emigrated to America, McCourt's family returns to Ireland after his sister dies in Brooklyn. It is there that things turn from bad to worse.
It is McCourt's contention that there is nothing worse than Irish Catholic poverty, and his book would seem to bear it out: his family moves to a row house in Limerick that is located next to the street's lavatory. However, the book is written in a lyrical style from the point of view of Frank McCourt as a boy, and it is still filled with the whimsy of growing up and the natural humor of its author.
While the book is often angry (at the Church, at his father, at his poverty, at his mother), it is also filled with forgiveness without bitterness. Covering the ages spanning three to 19, Angela's Ashes is the story of Frank McCourt's struggle to escape from poverty and a tale of Ireland still seemingly in the dark ages. Barred from the good schools because of his class, teeth falling out from malnutrition, and facing life with a shiftless alcoholic father, McCourt nevertheless survives on his wits and manages to return to America to start his life over. Again. It is a triumph of both the art of memoir writing and the author's spirit. (From the publisher.)
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