George Bradford's Reviews > Angela's Ashes

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
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Mar 16, 08

bookshelves: ireland

“If you had the luck of the Irish
You’d be sorry and wish you was dead
If you had the luck of the Irish
Then you’d wish you was English instead”

How can ONE book be so WONDERFUL and so HORRIBLE at the same time? I have no idea. But this book is both. Big time.

It’s difficult to imagine anything worse than a childhood crushed under the oppressive conditions of abject poverty, relentless filth and unmitigated suffering. The childhood described in this book is the worst I’ve ever encountered. The “lucky” children suffer injuries or illnesses that (due to poverty) go untreated and result in death. The rest suffer miserable existences. Actually, “suffer” and “miserable” are not adequate to describe the experience. The children in “Angela’s Ashes” would have traded their lives for a life of merely suffering a miserable childhood in a heartbeat.

And yet, somehow, Frank McCourt achieves a brilliant feat in this book. He tells a horrific story that caused me to cringe, grind my teeth, cry and loose sleep worrying. This book affected me physically. It was beyond upsetting. But McCourt wrote it in a way that kept me reading. As depressing as it was I could not put it down. McCourt’s writing is mesmerizing.



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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Anne (new)

Anne Another book I have and need to add to my list of to read's -- how can one keep up? I have not seen the movie.


Anne Felt privileged to hear Frank speak at Massey Hall...you could hear a pin drop! What an amazing man!! All his other books are also worth reading if you haven't read them yet!


Kasia I haven't read any of Frank McCourt's other books yet. I don't know if I can live through an experience like this again. His writing is mesmerizing and captivating. I could not stop reading Angela's Ashes. But, my experience with it was almost identical to yours. I'm just not sure I can willingly do it again.


Anne It's worth the effort...teacher man was fabulous but I'm a tad biased being a teacher also!


Kelley Woods George, I totally agree with your review. I've read this book at least five times,as well as 'Tis and Teacher Man. I've visited Limerick and it was just as bleak as Frank described it.
Anyone who discredits Frank's childhood memories,or anyones for that matter, needs to take their head out of the sand. My father grew up in Glasgow during the second world war, some of his experiences he can't even talk about to this day.
I find anyone who dismisses anybodys miserable childhood incredibly arrogant.


Carmela This book is imbued with the constant renewal of youthful hope that diminishes with age and time. If the story was not full of children, it would just be horrid.


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