Read Angela's Ashes: A Memoir Of A Childhood by Frank McCourt Free Online
Book Title: Angela's Ashes: A Memoir Of A Childhood|
The author of the book: Frank McCourt
Edition: Not Avail
Date of issue: November 1st 2000
ISBN 13: 9780007117215
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 29.86 MB
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Reader ratings: 5.7
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Before I get too deep into my review, let me just say this: "Angela's Ashes" is one of the most depressing books I have ever read. That said, it is also fascinating, heartbreaking, searingly honest narration told in the face of extreme poverty and alcoholism. This absolutely entrancing memoir follows an Irish-American-Irish-American (more on this later) boy who comes of age during the Depression and the War years in a country gripped in the stranglehold of the Catholic Church, tradition, rampant poverty and unemployment, and the seemingly ubiquitous curse of the Irish: alcohol.
Young Frank McCourt is born in American barely five months after his parents were wed. (Naturally, he will ask later about the math.) His father squanders the family's wages at the pubs and soon the family (with new children seeming to drop on a regular basis) moves back to Ireland. Frank and his family move from slum to slum as his father drifts aimlessly from one job to the next and from one pub to the next, coming home at midnight to rouse his boys from bed, making them promise to die for Ireland. Everywhere for Frank is misery: at school, at home, in the weather, in the dreary conditions of Limerick, and in a fiercly pious populace. Forced to be a man long before most kids even have a paper route, Frank is soon working to supplement whatever his mother can get handed from the government or begging while his father is off working and drinking in England's wartime industries. Frank dreams only of returning to America, where "everyone is a movie star."
This novel is so incredibly heartbreaking not only because it is true, but because it highlights the devastating conditions faced by millions (and which sadly continue). The work is a stinging indictment of alcoholism without being a polemic, merely a recollection of what was everday life of the narrator's family, courtesy of his father's drinking. McCourt's supreme strength is in narrating the book through the eyes of his younger self rather than as an adult commentating or proselytizing about what he saw and did as a young man. The young Frank makes choices out of survival instincts and simply because they seemed right at the time (i.e. stealing to eat while promising himself to pay it all back later). On top of the normal perils of adolescence--sexual awakening and social awkardness--Frank, and countless young people like him, needed to grow up far too early to stave of homelessness for himself and his family in the absence of his drifter, drinking father. And ultimately, it is also the quintessential immigrant story of saving up enough to leave the Old Country behind in pursuit of a better life in America.
Approach "Angela's Ashes" with both caution and an open mind. Bring tissues and try not to condemn. Be like young Frank: Observe without damning.
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Read information about the authorFrancis "Frank" McCourt was an Irish-American teacher and author. McCourt was born in Brooklyn; however, his family returned to their native Ireland in 1934.
He received the Pulitzer Prize (1997) and National Book Critics Circle Award (1996) for his memoir Angela's Ashes (1996), which details his childhood as a poor Irish Catholic in Limerick. He is also the author of 'Tis (1999), which continues the narrative of his life, picking up from the end of the previous book and focusing on life as a new immigrant in America. Teacher Man (2005), detailed the challenges of being a young, uncertain teacher who must impart knowledge to his students. His works are often part of the syllabus in high schools. In 2002 he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Western Ontario.
He died Sunday, July 19, 2009 of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. He was 78.
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