Adam Floridia's Reviews > Angela's Ashes

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
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really liked it
bookshelves: being-a-teen

I had not planned on writing a proper review, so I began to read others'. Quite a few unleashed verbal vitriol at McCourt's memoir, claiming that it is not entirely accurate and that it is too mawkish/maudlin/bathetic. Others claim that the author romanticizes the penury and destitution of the lives in his lane.

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 actually thought that was a subtle way to indicate the author wholeheartedly admitting that it is impossible to accurately recall conversations from one's childhood. The book does not have to represent a meticulously accurate picture of what Limerick was like at the time; all it has to do, and all any memoir purports to do, is reveal what life in a particular place was like AS EXPERIENCED BY THE AUTHOR. Plus, who cares about inaccuracies--a good story is a good story.

To say it is maudlin is extreme. There are many unfortunate events that take place; however, not once did I get the sense that McCourt was trying to manipulate his readers' sympathies. Events were described as a child would experience them...kind of like a Scout Finch as narrator. It is this fact that led some reviewers to claim that McCourt romanticized the rampant squalor and death. That would be like saying To Kill a Mockingbird romanticizes racial prejudice.

Anyway, it was an absorbing read filled with personal tragedies and laced with humor. Definitely worth a read.

If I were not such a jackass in high school, perhaps I would have appreciated Frank McCourt speaking at my graduation and even read this ten years ago. I wish I had.
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Reading Progress

June 23, 2010 – Shelved
July 7, 2010 – Started Reading
July 9, 2010 –
page 75
July 14, 2010 –
page 175
July 15, 2010 –
page 268
July 17, 2010 – Finished Reading
January 15, 2013 – Shelved as: being-a-teen

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