Book Review: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Genre: Memoir
Book Name: Angela’s Ashes #1
Author: Frank McCourt
Pages: 368
Publication Year: 1999
Publisher: Scribner

This is a short story on how I started reading this book. I was traveling multiple times within a month, and the starting few times, this book stood out for the name and book blurb. And every time I gave my best effort on turning the pages. Even though I somehow found the book really tough because the language and tone was totally different from what I am used to reading, I did not ditch the book and continued reading – at times only 10 pages a day. I believe completing 25% of the book is when I finally found myself eager to to read the book. Funny though!

Is the book funny? Or depressing? Well, you need to find amusement in the horrible life situations else you will perish and that’s what the author Frank McCourt does by narrating the sordid, heartbreaking and a tale of sickness and death through this book of his. Makes me wonder if Limericks are based out of a place in Ireland where McCourt grew up, the way witty poems are written after every few pages!

The book Angela’s Ashes is so named because of McCourt’s mother Angela who had to suffer even more because of unwanted pregnancies, drunkard husband, no money to feed the kids, sick children, and life slowly turning into ashes (metaphorically, death).

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
A Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestseller, Angela’s Ashes is Frank McCourt’s masterful memoir of his childhood in Ireland.

“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.

About the author:
Francis “Frank” McCourt was an Irish-American teacher and author. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Irish immigrant parents, grew up in Limerick, Ireland, and returned to America in 1949. His first book, “Angela’s Ashes,” won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the L.A. Times Book Award. In 2006, he won the prestigious Ellis Island Family Heritage Award for Exemplary Service in the Field of the Arts and the United Federation of Teachers John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education.

Rating: 10/10

About Alka

Trying to just make some sense out of things and put some sense into me!! :) :) :)

Posted on April 8, 2017, in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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