My Blog List

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review - Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

A memoir set in a background of impoverished Ireland and America this was a harrowing tale with undertones of much sadness as well as dry wit and humour. Unimaginable difficulties faced by a toddler right up to adulthood - unimaginable to the average middle class child of today.

Set in the 1930s and 1940s this book should be made compulsory reading - not just as a lesson for more privileged children (the usual eat all your vegetables, children in third world countries are starving sort of story) but for children to know what sheer grit and determination is to overcome all this.

The story of Angela married to drunk Michael and their numerous children. One by one the children die off - due to illnesses brought on by malnutrition and neglect and Frank as the eldest becomes the man of the family even at the age of ten where he knows exactly what is happening in the world around him.  That a child has to be forced to grow up so soon, not to enjoy his childhood, even simple pleasures and then you have the contradictory condition of him enjoying his father's songs and stories despite knowing what kind of a man his father actually is.

You knew right at the beginning that Frank will overcome all the disadvantages thrown at him and somehow come up trumps but I did wish that it was not such a harrowing story to get there.

Am back from Rozella ready for the new week! have done lots of reading this last week. What I left behind....


  1. I thought that book was great, except I did wonder how he remembered so many details from his early years.

  2. Sounds like engrossing reading although I think I would find the early sections hard.

  3. The resilience of humans, particularly children! Thank you Mystica for the review! I am putting this one on my list!

    P.S. Is this your four legged best friend? Name?

  4. I loved this book as well, a very moving memoir

    Shelleyrae @ book'd Out

  5. I read that book when it first came out. Frank McCourt even signed my copy and told me I have a lovely name!

    I loved this book!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha In Oz

  6. It's been a long time since I read this book, but I remember loving it. I do remember the story of his first communion though, which was pretty funny!

  7. I've been wanting to read this for years! My aunt (Scottish, not Irish) says it describes her upbringing to a T. Though as 1 of 11 kids they all managed to make it to adulthood somehow, complete with the drunk father and all.

  8. Isn't this one heartbreaking? I just could not imagine surviving such a horrible childhood!