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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Angela's Ashes: A Memoir » User review

Incredible Resiliency of Spirit

  • Feb 29, 2000
Pros: Wealth of emotional experience

Cons: Very sad, can be depressing

I first heard about Angela's Ashes here on Epinions. I had been hearing about the movie coming out and I was curious. I was careful to read reviews that did not reveal too much about the story, and I'm really glad that I made that choice. As a result of my investigation, I made my first online purchase from Amazon.com. A few days brought Angela's Ashes to my front door.

Often as I read, I'll gobble a text almost in a single serving, with little break for much of anything other than work. I'll even carry it to school with me to catch a few pages whenever I have a few quiet moments.

I could not do this with Angela's Ashes.

I DID carry it with me...to school, on the airplane, to the doctor's office, in the car while I provided limo service for my children. People commented on it everywhere I went. Many of them had read it and a number of them made comments that they found it to be too depressing. Much of what I read in this book was very intense and very emotionally challenging. I could not take large doses of it. I did however, stay with it with some of the same tenacity the author used to write it. I'm glad and grateful for the opportunity to have read and savored this novel.

For those who are unfamiliar, Angela's Ashes is the memoir of an American/Irish boy who tells about his family's life and the issues that they face. Much of what McCourt tells about IS incredibly sad and terribly unfortunate, but what shines through the depressing murk is his incredible resiliency. It is inspirational to say the least. One wonders how someone can endure so much. McCourt not only endures, he takes things in stride that would fell most of us.

Did I like Angela's Ashes? Yes, I would have to say so. My ultimate test for a novel...will I read it again? I think that I will. Would I recommend this work to others? Yes, with reservations. I believe this is for emotionally mature readers only. Will I buy the sequel? Probably tomorrow if I can find it!


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More Angela's Ashes: A Memoir reviews
review by . July 03, 2010
This memoir truly stuck with my after I read it. Mccourt is such an honest storyteller, and did not try to paint it any other way than exactly how it happened. Reading through his childhood experience and knowing that from those beginnings he was able to write that memoir and publish it for others to read showed me the strength of the human spirit and how no matter the circumstances, every person has the potential to make something positive out of a difficult experience.      …
review by . June 22, 2010
  Wow. What else can be said? This is a must read for everyone, especially those who are interested in reading/writing memoir. McCourt fills the page with vivid descriptions and interesting, sympathetic characters who remain in our hearts well after the last page is turned. We had talked about this all throughout my high school career, but I never thought to pick it up until this year, after graduating college. McCourt has seething, beautiful insights and a knack for creating scene and environment. …
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
Could not really get into this one
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
Excellent book. That anyone can go through such harsh experiences and retell them with humor is a tribute to man's ability to adapt.
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
Reading McCourt's "Angela's Ashes not on gave an heart wrenching view into his particular childhood, but also an intimate look into Limerick City's poverty in the '30s and '40s. Wonderful book and a haunting read.
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
A great memoir of growing up in Ireland; the sequels are also good
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
Gritty and realistic tale about life in poverty.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
Quick Tip by . June 11, 2010
Another good read about our history and ancestors.
Quick Tip by . June 10, 2010
Could read this over and over again.
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About this book


Frank McCourt's haunting memoir takes on new life when the author reads from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book. 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. In a melodic Irish voice that often lends a gentle humor to the unimaginable, the author remembers his wayward yet adoring father who was forever drinking what little money the family had. He recounts the painful loss of his siblings to avoidable sickness and hunger, a proud mother reduced to begging for charity, and the stench of the sewage-strewn streets that ran outside the front door. As McCourt approaches adolescence, he discovers the shame of poverty and the beauty of Shakespeare, the mystery of sex and the unforgiving power of the Irish Catholic Church. This powerful and heart-rending testament to the resiliency and determination of youth is populated with memorable characters and moments, and McCourt's interpretation of the narrative and the voices it contains will leave listeners laughing through their tears.--This text refers to theAudio Cassetteedition.
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ISBN-13: 978-1568959634
Author: Frank McCourt
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Publisher: Wheeler Pub Inc
Date Published: November 01, 1999
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