Angela’s Ashes Review

By | September 9, 2010

Angela’s Ashes
By: Frank McCourt

Paige’s Rating: (4.5) of 5 Stars
Recommended for: History, Non-fiction Readers

Book Description (Amazon):

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.

I picked up this book a couple years ago when I noticed it was in a FREE box in the teacher’s lounge. I had no idea what the novel was about, only knew that it was a Best Seller Oprah Book Club type. I got around to reading it just this month and finished it in two days.

McCourt recounts his childhood from a child’s perspective, with Irish words and phrases that give it a realistic rhythm from the start. The childlike voice is one that repeatedly lends itself to much humor as life unfolds and the imagination of the young boy tries to make sense of the stark surrounding reality. While McCourt attempts to find sense in his father’s alcoholism, and his mother’s anxiety, he best makes light of the Catholic religion and the strict followings of the Catholic Church. The book, while lighthearted throughout, is a brutally honest and captivating read, often tugging at the heartstrings. McCourt most accurately describes the appalling living conditions of the poverty-stricken Irish during the time period of roughly 1935-1948 (before, during and slightly after WWII).

The reader will more than likely find laughter mixed with a sense of disbelief and sorrow at times. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is that I had to occasionally put the book down because it was so depressing reading about the family’s continual struggles. However, I found myself repeatedly drawn back to it to see if they were able to get out of the difficulties.

One of the best books I have read this year, and I am hoping to seek out ‘Tis: A Memoir, which is the author’s follow-up to Angela’s Ashes.

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