Angela's Ashes

Angela's Ashes

A Memoir

Book - 1996
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Angela's Ashes , imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.

"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 childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."

So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, 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.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, c1996.
ISBN: 9780684874357
Branch Call Number: 921 MCCOU
Characteristics: 364 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.


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I know some think it's overdone, but I was charmed and inspired and I laughed too.

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Sep 14, 2018

Published in 1996, this memoir is the first of the trilogy, with the following books being “‘Tis” and “Teacher Man,” being published in 1999 and 2005. With “Angela’s Ashes,” the narrator, Frank McCourt talks about the challenges he has faced while growing up, such as the death of three of his siblings as infants and an abusive and alcoholic father, all up to the point where he moves to America at the end of the book, at the age of 19. Upon reading this book for English class, I would rate it a 4 out of 5. I have never read a memoir before this one as I find it quite boring to read about someone’s life, but the misery Frank went through growing up mixed with Frank’s humour allowed for an emotional rollercoaster throughout the whole book, creating a heartbreaking, yet funny book to read.
@Aylos of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

Jul 01, 2018

Frank McCourt's rambling memoir about growing up a poor Catholic on the streets of Limerick won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997. I was surprised to find that the amount of humour in this book by far outweighed the amount of sorrow. I suspect that a few of the more outlandish tales in this book arise from a somewhat exaggerated sense of Irish humor, but I don't care because it makes for a hugely entertaining read even if Frank's own mother, Angela, declared that the book is a "pack of lies."

Jan 25, 2017

Frank McCourt is able to recount a life of abject poverty without becoming maudlin. While I'm not a fan of his prose style, he manages to capture the famous Irish sarcasm perfectly. After reading the synopsis, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading the book.

ArapahoeAlicia Aug 09, 2016

After living in Ireland as a child, I was always confused when people talked about Irish poverty in recent history as the country I knew was so vibrant. This book really opened my eyes to a world of poverty I had never really considered. Not a book for the faint of heart, but in my opinion McCourt offers the perfect balance of honest, depressing content with Irish story telling and humor. A terrific read.

Jul 14, 2016

Was this a good book? Tis. Tis indeed.

fatimax Apr 12, 2016

I wouldn't reread this book but it did take me a few tries to finish it. We read this for my English class and it honestly made me cry more times than I can count.

Apr 05, 2016

I don't want to say I enjoyed this book because I feel like that's the wrong term for this book. It is depressing, gut-wrenching, and overall sad. That being said, I liked the book. I am currently living in Ireland (about 30 minutes from Limerick) so I feel that I have an extra connection to the story, and recognize several land marks. The book isn't a page turner, and I put it down for weeks at a time, but I never had any intention of not finishing the story. Would I recommend this to other people? Yes, but know it is a looooong book. Would I reread it? No. Too sad! But a very interesting social, cultural commentary about Limerick during The Depression.

Mar 20, 2016

I cannot imagine this as a 'light-hearted' read, audio or DVD. Thanks to McCourt he can make the most horrible childhood almost pleasant due to his humor. I'd read it in 2000 & watched the DVD recently because I'd forgotten just how miserable Ireland of the era was with the poverty, the Catholic Church views & teachings were. Little wonder the two countries has such strife, not to mention the strife of faiths. For many with Brit-Irish DNA & family stories this can be a revelation. The acting of film is brilliant.

Jan 27, 2016

What an amazing book. Frank McCourt grows up in poverty but somehow manages to keep the book humorous enough despite the misery. That being said, I definitely cried at points. It just struck me so much because it's all a true story. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes 1930s history and Ireland.

Nov 24, 2014

This is about as good as a memoir gets. For a real treat, listen to the audiobook, read by the author. When he recounts his father singing old Irish songs, McCourt sings them. This made the audio especially wonderful.

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Jul 14, 2016

Frank McCourt recounts his tale of growing up an impoverished little Irish boy. Regaling stories of what it's like to be in the midst of a good, Catholic community to the heart break brought on by the struggles his family faced (and created), Angela's Ashes is a worthy remembrance to the life he has led as a child and how he fought hard to survive.

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