"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 ...more
Although the account of Frank's bad eyes was almost physically painful to read, the rest of the story didn't seem too odd or sad or overdone to me. My dad's family were immigrants; his father died young of cirrhosis of the liver, leaving my grandmother to raise her six living children (of a total of 13) on a cleaning woman's pay. So? Life was hard. They weren't Irish and they lived in New York, but when you hear that ...more
Quite literally without a bone to pick.
His da used scant earnings
To slake liquid yearnings;
In American parlance – a dick.
To get past a father who drank
In a place that was dismal and dank,
He wrote not in rhymes,
But of those shite times
A memoir that filled up his bank.
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 “ ...more
When I read Angela's Ashes my children were really young, about the ages of Frank and his siblings at the start of the book. I found the story of their neglect-filled childhood in New York and Ireland - with a helpless mother and an alcoholic ...more
Frank’s parents, both Irish, met in New York and began their family there. McCourt himself was born in New York, but this was in the 1930s and the depression hurt everyone and everywhere, especially immigrant Irish with no resources.
So back to Ireland they go to live near his maternal grandmother. 1930s Limerick was not much better than New York, especially for Frank’s father who ...more
And the root of all suffering is want.
And we want. Oh, we want.
We want the husband to keep the job and come home sober. We want the kids to live. We want shoes and clothes that fit and don't have holes. We want to eat. We want a roof that doesn't leak and indoor plumbing, for Christ's sake.
We want the priest with the servant not to kick us from his door and tell us our suffering is caused by sin. We want something kinder than guilt or shame.
We want friendship. We want love. We ...more
First, no memoir can ever be 100% truthful; our memories are incomplete and sporadic (at best). In fact, as I read I liked that there were NO quotation marks used to indicate speech. I ...more
The memoir borrows heavily from the art of realism -- as tales of impoverished childhoods usually are. McCourt was born in depression era Brooklyn to an alcoholic father who spent all his wages at the bar, and a mother disgraced ...more
I don't think it's stood the test of time and the more I think of it... my grandmother is right. It's a one-sided, depressing view of life in Ireland.
"Woah is me..." is the book in a nutshell. This book simply has you marinate in negativity. Maybe I've read too much Phillip Roth in the meantime and compared to his characters this book seems too whiny ...more
The details of McCourt’s life and the things that young Frank notices evoke a certain era, and certain ...more
In the beginning, Francis (Frank) McCourt's family story starts out so desperate, you think it can't get any worse, BUT....IT....DOES!
Frankie had a very short and dreadful childhood in Limerick, Ireland. Even at age four with only the clothes (rags) on his back, he had adult responsibilities caring for his twin baby brothers, changing and...more
'Baby born, baby died, baby born, baby died, baby born, baby died, baby born, baby died; it rained'.
Admittedy there was more to it than that, however I read it a long time ago and the gloom of the misery and rain hangs still over the whole ...more
Frank McCourt describes a childhood that is ridden with poverty. He made me cry, he made me angry, he made me happy and he even made me laugh. The book is harrowing, but the humour in this book is uplifting, and one cannot help but smile. My heart ...more
Heartbreakingly sad due to the horrible poverty and surroundings, I was amazed at how humorous this memoir ...more
but ughhhhh, this book...
Maudlin, over-sentimentalised, disingenuous, miserable, clichéd hack.
It sent me into a five year book slump, or more accurately a phase of book avoidance, such was my abject experience reading it.
If anyone ever asks me the question what among all the hundreds and hundreds of books you have read is the one that ...more
This book is kind of like that bit in A Chorus Line where the director is making everyone tell him about their childhoods and the one guy goes, "Nobody wants to admit they had a happy childhood." There are two instances where this statement is extremely true: show business, and memoir writing.
Angela's Ashes (which is apparently the first in a series?) chronicles ...more
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He received the Pulitzer Prize (1997) and National Book Critics Circle Award (1996) for his memoir Angela's Ashes (1996), which details his childhood as a poor Irish Catholic in Limerick. He is also the author of 'Tis (1999), which continues ...more