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» » Angela's Ashes

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Angela's Ashes
Angela's Ashes
Frank McCourt
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HarperPerennial; New e. edition (October 3, 2005)
432 pages
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  • Thetalen
Book review: “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt...First & foremost, this book taught me that there are levels of poverty. For example, there’s regular poverty, Irish poverty, Irish Catholic poverty, and (worst of all) Irish Catholic poverty in the 1940s. The book is an autobiography on Frank McCourt growing up in Limerick, Ireland. The book won the Pulitzer Prize and, quite frankly, he deserved it...as sad as it is, it is very well written, flows nicely, and keeps the reader wanting more. Some of my favorite highlights from the book:
1. “As a child, I thought a balanced diet was bread and tea, a solid and a liquid.” Frank McCourt
2. Frank McCourt had beautiful handwriting—a “fine fist” as they said in the old country—and he wrote Angela’s Ashes in longhand.
3. I had heard the term Soupers but never knew what it meant: “We had the soupers in the Famine. The Protestants went round telling good Catholics that if they gave up their faith and turned Protestant they’d get more soup than their bellies could hold and, God help us, some Catholics took the soup, and were ever after known as soupers.”
4. All this time, I’ve been saying Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Evidently, I’ve been saying it wrong. Per the book, it’s...Jesus, Mary and Holy St. Joseph!
5. Frank’s Mom had a decent sense of humor. Irish Catholic wives were supposed to have children relentlessly. This was her reply after her last baby, Alphie (child #10!): “Mam says, Alphie is enough. I’m worn out. That’s the end of it. No more children. Dad says, The good Catholic woman must perform her wifely duties and submit to her husband or face eternal damnation. Mam says, As long as there are no more children eternal damnation sounds attractive enough to me.”
6.) On your 16th birthday in Ireland, it was tradition to have Your Father take you to the local pub for your first pint Of Guinness (boys only of course)...
7.) The funniest story in the book was when the family was literally cutting the wood walls of their home to use as firewood and were running out!: “Mam says, One more board from that wall, one more and not another one. She says that for two weeks till there’s nothing left but the beam frame. She warns us we are not to touch the beams for they hold up the ceiling and the house itself. Oh, we’d never touch the beams. She goes to see Grandma and it’s so cold in the house I take the hatchet to one of the beams. Malachy cheers me on and Michael claps his hands with excitement. I pull on the beam, the ceiling groans and down on Mam’s bed there’s a shower of plaster, slates, rain. Malachy says, Oh, God, we’ll all be killed, and Michael dances around singing, Frankie broke the house, Frankie broke the house!”
8.) I had never heard the term American Wake but this makes perfect sense: “Mam says we’ll have to have a bit of party the night before I go to America. They used to have parties in the old days when anyone would go to America, which was so far away the parties were called American wakes because the family never expected to see the departing one again in this life.”
  • SmEsH
The only thing I regret is not knowing about this book when Frank MacCourt was still alive! Like whyyyy!!! This is literally MY FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME! The story is heart breaking but the way it's told is HILARIOUS!!! I couldn't put the book down! I would read on the train everyday, literally laughing out loud and I'm sure people would wonder what the hell is wrong with me. I wouldn't "give a fiddler's fart!" Hahaha. His sense of humor is over the top. I laughed so bad when trying to picture what he was saying, which happened in every passage I read. I've never read a story this sad, yet very funny. Reading this book brought me so close to McCourt even though I never met him. I could relate in so many anecdotes he told even though I grew up in a totally different country. I just wish he was still alive so that I could meet him, and hug him, and tell him how much I love him. I would love to meet his bothers Malachy and Alphie. I saw that there is a museum in Ireland that depicts the story in the book. I will definitely go to Ireland and visit it. IT'S WELL WORTH THE TRAVEL. He definitely inspired me and made my change my writing style. This book is written in such a beautiful way with such a free, powerful voice. THANK YOU, FRANK MAcCOURT WHEREVER YOU ARE NOW, WHICH I'M SURE IS HEAVEN, FOR MAKING MY DAYS, MY SUBWAY RIDES, AND MY NIGHTS! THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME HAPPY WHILE READING YOU. I appreciate you and I love you! May your beautiful soul rest in peace!
  • Chinon
McCourt's story was very well written.
The setting was Ireland and he brought the flavor
of the Emerald Isle along with all its greenery to a bigger than life status!
So much of the book was depressing yet he intermingled comedic parts throughout to keep it balanced and exciting!
The reader was shown the perils of poverty and all its brutal effects on a family: the father, mother, children and relatives.
In most cases it brought out the worst of people but some characters showed strength and resilience beyond imagination!
The ending provided no resolutions and left you with a grave feeling of despair and uncertainty!
It was a sad tale of woe which makes one wonder if any of us could ever endure what Frank and his family did and live to actually write about it?