Angela's Ashes

A Memoir

McCourt, Frank

Book - 2003
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Angela's Ashes
"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.

Publisher: New York : Scribner, c2003, c1996
Edition: 1st Scribner trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 068484267X
Branch Call Number: B McCourt
Characteristics: 363 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.


From Library Staff

This autobiography, written when the late author was past 60, has gained international renown.

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Nov 24, 2014

This is about as good as a memoir gets. For a real treat, listen to the audiobook, read by the author. When he recounts his father singing old Irish songs, McCourt sings them. This made the audio especially wonderful.

May 31, 2014
  • vikingmama rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A dark, honest account of the author's upbringing in Irish poverty.

Dec 24, 2013
  • JCLLeslieN rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Great perspective on poverty and what it feels like to grow up in it.

Jun 13, 2013
  • sillycraygirl rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

this book is so good i mean its sad of what the guy had to grow up with no money and a father that was drunk all the time

May 23, 2013
  • finn75 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Laughter through tears is how I would describe this book. Read it and understand how lucky we all are these days and the importance of humor as a coping mechanism.

Jan 10, 2013

good book but very sad

Nov 06, 2012
  • Shauna_E rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

It is incredible how Frank McCourt is able to remember his life so vividly. His memoir was difficult to read at times, this man has survived through so much in his life, but well worth it. Angela's Ashes should almost be mandatory reading for those who have everything but appreciate nothing..

Jan 28, 2012
  • Lornabone rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A truly wonderful book. Frank McCourt does an excellent job of bringing warmth and laughter to a very despairing childhood. His ability to bring the Irish dialect out in his words made the book even more endearing. I laughed at times and cried at others and sometimes did both at the same time. If you want a story of survival this is it.

Nov 08, 2011
  • Heidi1974 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This was a hard book to read but it really told the truth of how it was back then. It was amazing that any of the children survived this life of poverty and misery. The movie made it seem a little bit more comical that the book did. It was wonderful how many people helped these little boys even though they had very little. All in all a very good read.

Sep 07, 2011
  • Amy_Clay rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I LOVED this book :*(

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