Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: angela\'s-ashes
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-03-12 04:13
Angela's Ashes
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt

I read ‘Tis when I was a teenager, and it’s one of those books that have always stuck with me. I’ve wanted to read Angela’s Ashes for years. I’m glad that I finally got a chance to read it.


Frank McCourt was born in depression-era New York, but poverty and his father’s drinking drove his immigrant family back to Ireland. Life in Ireland isn’t any easier for Frank. He grows up in extreme poverty and faces disease and starvation. His only goal is to become a man so that he can get a job and support his family.


This memoir is pretty bleak. Frank did not have an easy childhood. His hunger, poverty, and unsanitary living conditions led to serious diseases that altered his life and killed a few of his siblings. Even though this book is difficult to read, it’s not completely depressing. There are moments of startling humor and beauty. The writing is very good. It’s blunt and occasionally vulgar. It’s honest without being melodramatic. I could really feel Frank’s desperation to make a better life for himself and his family, and I couldn’t imagine growing up like he did.


This book shows humanity at its best and its worst. Frank’s story has a lot of causal violence, but it also proves how kind people can be. One of my favorite scenes is when Frank steals a bag of oranges from a store. The store owner know that Frank and his siblings are starving, so instead of calling the police, the store owner gives the kids a second bag of fruit.


I don’t know very much about depression/WWII era Ireland, so the political and cultural aspects of this memoir are interesting to me. The book is a firsthand account of the conflicts between the Protestants and the Catholics and the English and Irish. Being an Irish Catholic is a huge part of Frank’s identity. I liked reading about someone whose life, experiences, and beliefs are so different from mine.


I enjoyed this book overall, but I have to admit that I was bored for a lot of it. I think the plot is slow, flat, and repetitive. Every time Frank starts to get ahead in life, something tragic happens that knocks him back down. This does help the reader feel Frank’s frustration, but the cycle becomes boring and predictable after a few hundred pages.


If you can get past the repetition, I highly recommend this book. It provides an in-depth look at extreme poverty and makes you grateful for everything you have. I can see why some people consider it a classic and an important work of modern literature.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2015-09-15 23:10
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt

Another Ireland story and a real punch to the gut. I remember my mom reading this when I was young, and being moved by its similarities to her own Irish family. 

Like Reblog Comment
text 2014-08-25 17:07
A find
Angela's Ashes: A Memoir of a Childhood - Frank McCourt

I found Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt yesterday. Which is just as well, because it's pissing down today and the book would be no more had I or someone else not come across it.


Now it is here, looking at me. It boasts a Pulitzer, but I am not taken in yet. I will wait.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2014-07-20 00:00
Angela's Ashes
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt Innocence was never this hilarious

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was like a part of some review on the backflap promised it to be: you can open it up on any page and find yourself drawn into the story.

The writing style was a little hard to get into for me at first. I think it took about 50 pages to get used to it and another 50 pages to start appreciating it. In fact, to start loving it. I got so hooked on it that there was no easily defined moment to stop, which is why I had to force myself to do so every time it was way too late for me to be reading.

The poverty described in this book was absolutely horrid. The McCourts had a roof above their heads, but that was basically the only thing that distinguished them from the homeless beggars on the streets. The possibility of starving to death in your own home, because there's no money left for food is a thought that didn't really occur to me that often before and it's just shocking to read about it, especially because the story takes place in a developed country approximately 75 years ago.
My own parents were small children back then and of course, it wasn't a feast of luxuries, especially with the war going on (which apparently paradoxically improved things for the Irish working class). My grandparents also queued up in the lines of people holding on to foodstamps, but still, it never came close to the extremities described in this book.

That being said, with all the illnesses, deaths, heartbreak, hunger and injustice mentioned, it NEVER gets truly sad. In fact, most of the time, it's downright hilarious. Which is why this reminded me a lot of Charles Dickens' work. Horrible circumstances yet still, you can't stop chuckling. It's also why I had to often remind myself even more that this story takes place in the 20th century instead of the 19th and that, while it reads like fiction, it is most certainly not (not that I'm saying Dickens' work is always pure fiction; a lot of his stories were based on his personal history of growing up).

Had this story been told from the perspective of an adult, it would've most likely been very depressing. However, seeing everything through the eyes of an innocent child gives you a whole different look at things. It's the main reason why the horrid things that happened turned into something funny. Take the death of a loved one that would've been heartbreaking if told by an adult; told by a child it can be a joyful experience because there's going to be sympathy, which leads to money, which then means being able to go to the cinema and eating sweets.

I can recommend this book to anyone really. I know I'm most definitely going to read the sequel [b:'Tis|4912|'Tis (Frank McCourt, #2)|Frank McCourt|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1375947803s/4912.jpg|1779262] to it some day.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-03-25 17:44
Review: Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt

I am searching for more pages, one final chapter. This cannot be how it ends.

No, I'm not longing for more because this story was so captivating or the prose beautifully poetic. I seriously can't believe that this whole story leads up to such a lame let-down of an ending. Did I truly just read 362 pages of childhood memories relating heart-wrenching tales of impoverishment and neglect only to be reassured in the end that little Frankie McCourt

(view spoiler)got laid by a lonely American housewife as soon as he landed on US soil?

(spoiler show)

Really? That's the moral of the story?

Even before the worst book ending of all time, this memoir was mediocre. McCourt seems to have memories that stretch back to the time before he was born and include great detail of his toddler years. If that kind of thing doesn't bother you in nonfiction, than there is still the complete lack of quotation marks to drive you crazy. I'm sure this is supposed to be his "personal writing style." I don't buy it. It's just poor grammar.

Now that I've got that out, I can admit that some of McCourt's tales of hunger, sickness, alcoholism, and death are certainly touching, even heartbreaking, but unfortunately not uncommon. I kept waiting for the moment in his life that made his story special. I guess it was the point where he wrote a book and made millions of dollars.

McCourt's writing is quite good, if you don't mind the lack of punctuation. He makes good use of a first person present tense narration that is extremely difficult to do well. The voice changes as he moves from 3 years old to the end where he is 19. He does a fabulous job of showing the reader each person he interacts with through the eyes of a child.

Opportunities existed for this to have real impact. Frank struggles with his faith when he gets old enough to question why God lets some suffer and even die. He works to pull himself out of the poverty that most of his family (relatively) happily wallows in. Unfortunately, the author spends just as much time on teenage masturbation and fantasies. Such potential, only to be a complete disappointment.

(view spoiler)The reader never learns if Frank overcame his doubts about his faith and only know because you're reading it that he found success as a writer, but don't worry, he did get laid.

(spoiler show)

I know people adore this book and I had certainly hoped to, but it comes across as a rather bland and unfinished life story.<!--["br"]--><!--["br"]--><!--["br"]--><!--["br"]--><!--["br"]--><!--["br"]--><!--["br"]--><!--["br"]--><!--["br"]--><!--["br"]--><!--["br"]--><!--["br"]-->

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?