Hi guys! The book we are going to review today is a 1997 Pulitzer Prize awardee. It’s actually a memoir. I don’t really read memoirs because I think it’s a little pretentious (oh well, I’m absurd like that) and a little edited out of reality. But I gave this one a try and I did not regret reading it. I actually had a hard time finishing this book because it’s really heavy and the format isn’t really the traditional novel format. It doesn’t have quotation marks and some of the accents are sometimes indistinguishable. I finished this book more than a week and that was long for me, but nonetheless, I think I enjoyed reading it. So, here’s the review!
“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.
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.(goodreads)
Let me just say that this book is so depressing. It actually made me feel uncomfortable and I almost did not want to finish it. From the story of Frank’s mother and father to how his sister and brothers died and how they almost became beggars. I also had nothing to do with his father because I resented him for his alcohol problems. I wouldn’t want to experience something like that.
You will imagine everything that’s happening around them because the writing is easy to grasp once you get the hang of it.
I never thought that I would remember everything that happened in the book because I was really not that determined to finish it but I found myself really absorbing everything around Frank’s life and how I imagined him growing up and experiencing more out of life, which, if I’d be honest is really really hard and I don’t know how they survived those miserable years. Pig’s head for Christmas anyone? How about going to school with broken shoes and being rejected by the Priests for secondary school? I had a lot of issues with this book but not because I don’t like the writing and all that, but I found myself asking why those had to happen to little kids?! I.JUST.CAN’T.
I read a review that this is just a one sided account of Ireland during their time, but one sided or not, all I know is that life is hard for Frank. And how he survived? Well, people are resilient and he showed me that. He’s very inspiring and I’m glad he lived to tell the tale.
I got the 2nd book and looking forward to meet him again, soon 😉