#TBT Review: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

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Category: Memoir

Published: 1996

Read: 2004

Score: 5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy — exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling — does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.
Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.

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Review: This is a beautiful and touching book and when I read it I couldn’t put it down. To read a story from the point of view of someone who actually lived it. Poverty, love, hate, rags, religion…you have everything in this honest book.

Frank McCourt has it had his whole life but works for everything he has. His father is a drunk, his mother is raising many kids on nothing and his siblings keep dying. Despite this he is resilient, hard-working, and once he’s a teenager…the typical teenager.

One thing I really loved about this book is how he grows within the story. Despite talking about things that happened when he was younger you read it from a young point of view. Finding out what sex is, how babies come in to the world, life and death are all part of things he learns as he grows and it feels like you are right there with him as he’s learning.

Some points were hard to read, how they lived was hard, but again it’s reliance that keeps you reading.

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This is a must read for everyone. It really shows you how people lived not only during the Depression but in a different place. It shows no matter what love is there and will get you through. Once your done this one I would recommend watching the movie, which is equally good with a stellar cast and then read the 2nd book by Frank McCourt of when he comes to America.

 

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