Author: Frank McCourt
Publication: 1999 (1st edition, 1996)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Frank McCourt offers no pretentions about his youth, which he describes as “the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.” Born in Brooklyn during the Depression, he and his family struggle economically and decide to move back to the home of his father in Limerick. But back in Ireland, things go from bad to worse as Frank’s alcoholic father, Malachy, has trouble finding work, and even when he does, tends drink away whatever wages he earns. Frank and his family are left to apply for charity, beg, and even steal just to put bread on the table.
I read Angela’s Ashes at the recommendation of my mother, who loved and read it so many times that her copy of the book was falling apart. Like her, I found that I couldn’t put it down. The memoir tells of a childhood filled with poverty and hardships; but despite his wretched situation, McCourt manages to tell his story with humor and lightheartedness. It is a wonder that McCourt survived his youth and made it out as hopeful and optimistic as he did. Filled with Irish wit that left me both sad and hopeful at the same time, Angela’s Ashes is a great book for anyone looking for an inspiring and honest read.
Review by Serena Gibbons, A&S '17