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Angelas Ashes by Frank McCourt – A Captivating Story Of Irish Immigration

July 20, 2011
Angelas Ashes by Frank McCourt

Frank McCourts haunting memoir takes on new life when the author reads from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Recounting scenes from his childhood in New York City and Limerick, Ireland, McCourt paints a brutal yet poignant picture of his early days when there was rarely enough food on the table, and boots and coats were a luxury. In a melodic Irish voice that often lends a gentle humor to the unimaginable, the author remembers his wayward yet adoring father who was forever drinking what little money the family had. He recounts the painful loss of his siblings to avoidable sickness and hunger, a proud mother reduced to begging for charity, and the stench of the sewage-strewn streets that ran outside the front door. As McCourt approaches adolescence, he discovers the shame of poverty and the beauty of Shakespeare, the mystery of sex and the unforgiving power of the Irish Catholic Church. This powerful and heart-rending testament to the resiliency and determination of youth is populated with memorable characters and moments, and McCourts interpretation of the narrative and the voices it contains will leave listeners laughing through their tears.

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This story is the one of Frank McCourts, an Irish-American who was raised in Limerick, Ireland. It is his life story from his earliest memories in New York through his life in Ireland until he returns to America at age 19. His life was a remarkable one and I cant imagine living through the hardships that hes endured. He lived a childhood in extreme poverty and nearly died of typhoid fever. Frank suffers the loss of his twin brothers and little sister. Franks father is an alcoholic that causes his family to live in squalor as he spends any money he earns in the pub until it is gone.

Franks story in Angelas Ashes is one that contains so many unbelievable hardships, yet at the same time the reader is amazed by his resilience and continued fight to make something of his life and return to America.

Lisa lent me this book and told me that it was one of her favorites. I can see why. I have since learned that Frank McCourt received the Pulitzer Prize (1997) and National Book Critics Circle Award (1996) for Angelas Ashes. He is also the author of `Tis, which continues the story of his life, picking up from the end of the Angelas Ashes and focusing on life in America, and Teacher Man about his challenges as a teacher with his students.

Reading this book was so overwhelming to me! Its tale was remarkable and I felt such a sense of gratefulness for the life that Ive lived in comparison to Franks. I dont know how it is that I had never heard of this book nor movie. To avoid spoilers for those who have not read this excellent book, I will instead share with you one of my favorite parts of the book. Frank has written a composition on the Lord entitled Jesus and the Weather for an assignment in school. He is instructed to read it aloud to the class.

This book is written without quotation marks and is written in his true voice. There are many songs, poems and other such recitals within the book. There are so many endearing and wonderful things that Frank shares in the book that will stick within the confines of my mind for a lifetime. I only wish that I could meet him! What an amazing thing that would be.

On Shers Out of Ten Scale:

If you have not read this book, it needs to be added to your MUST READ list. This is a book that will enrich your spirit and make you feel so grateful for not only ever meal you eat, but for your health as well. It is simply an amazing book!

For the genre Non-Fiction:Memoir, I am going to rate this book a 10 OUT OF 10.

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Angelas Ashes by Frank McCourt


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