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A Song for Mary: An Irish-American Memory

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  129 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
A moving memoir of growing up Irish Catholic & poor in New York City. Told in the first person, this lyrical remembrance is a powerful odyssey of one young man coming of age in a confusing & sometimes hostile world.
Hardcover, 369 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Time Warner International (first published February 1st 1999)
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Glad I didn't pay full price for this. It could have been so much more than it was. It could have been like the classic "In America", "West Side Story" or "Angela's Ashes"; well actually any of the McCourt brothers books, or "Angels with Dirty Faces", yep, Mickey Rooney I can see as Dennis. I kept waiting for the spark, for something to make me cry, to make me laugh, something to take a hold of my beating heart and rip it from my chest. But no. It was lukewarm, tepid and mostly predictable, exce ...more
Sep 28, 2007 Tammra rated it really liked it
Sharon Murphy introduced me to this book and I loved it. It is an autobiography and I love to read about other people's lives. I especially like to read about experiences that are different from my own. Dennis Smith is a New York firefighter and has written many good books about that experience, the most notable being Ground Zero about Sept 11.
In this book he writes about his Irish-Catholic and poverty stricken upbringing in New York City. It is a tribute to his hard working and no-nonsense moth
Jo-Ann Murphy
Apr 14, 2014 Jo-Ann Murphy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I had a hard time figuring our a rating for this book. I found the main character VERY annoying. I could understand why his mother hit him. I felt like hitting him. I gave it 5 stars because if the writing had not been so good, I would not have felt so much like hitting him.

As the author tells us in the beginning, this is written for his mother, Mary. It begins at her funeral. Then he chronicles their rough life as poor Irish in New York. His mother is doing her best raising her children alone w
Mary Moeller
Well told story of Irish, poor, Catholic Americans, and a boy growing up under these conditions. Felt empathy for the families, enjoyed the author's humor and "growing up"-on-the-wrong-side-of-town-stories. However, the book was a bit on the l-o-n-g side. Repetition interfered with story progress.
Sharon Murphy
Nov 16, 2007 Sharon Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dennis Smith tells of his life growing up in New York City and the secret that is kept from him by his mother. It is a book that I would read again. His mother has such great wisdom and she tries to raise her sons with that attitude.
Cheryl S.
Feb 28, 2008 Cheryl S. rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, 2008
The story of a young Irish American boy growing up poor on the streets of New York and of the mother who did her best to raise him to be a solid contibuting citizen. Told from the heart.
Walsh Walsh
Jul 28, 2010 Walsh Walsh rated it liked it
He had a good mother, and I learned lessons from her reading his book. I could empathize with her, but she has far more grace than I ever shall rouse.
May 11, 2015 Fred added it
It took most of the day to read it.
A coming of age book for an Irish-Catholic boy in New York City with only a mother and brother.
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During his 18 years as a New York City firefighter, Dennis Smith developed a profound respect for the professionalism of the firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and nurses with whom he worked in the more than 40 alarms his engine company responded to every day. He witnessed their willingness to give of themselves in the course of their duty. His experiences in the fire service have been immortali ...more
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