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'Tis: A Memoir

A book by Frank McCourt

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Strong classroom tales, fine anecdotes, but loose ending

  • Oct 26, 1999
Rating:
+1
As an Irish American, an English instructor at an urban technical college, and a former inner-city night school teacher, there's much I found both familiar and well-evoked in 'Tis. Obviously, as with his former book, many of these tales have been polished in the telling long before they were set in print. At times, this narrative voice carries you along with an almost Joycean momentum. Lyrical, swooping, crafted prose. But, as others have noted, the last third of the book skips about disjointedly; one late chapter starts in 1971, the next 1969, for instance. You never get a feel for his wife and daughter--although this may be explained by the pain of his own divorce, and the difficulty in confronting anew the broken hopes of his past. The later chapters, after he's established himself as a teacher, feel rushed and cursory, as if he just wants to hurry up, get to his mother and father's deaths, and not have to write yet a third memoir with more detail given from his middle- aged years. The gradual disintegration of a cohesive narrative thread weakens the total impact of his story. Still, for the wonderfully described first two-thirds, with its variety of characters, locales, and stories, it's worthwhile. And he has the best depictions of teaching in an urban environment I've ever read. 3 1/2 stars.

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August 03, 2010
Darlingn, as a teacher myself in the city with similar students and similar subjects, I enjoyed all of McC's books, even if I admit the second and third felt rushed and sloppy. My sense, from "Teacher Man," is that the editors pressured him to leave out more intimate details about his then-wife and daughter and this made "'Tis" a bit awkward. Still, for a man with so many stories to tell, I agree that it's great to have them shared.
 
August 03, 2010
I agree completely. I felt that his storytelling did get a bit disjointed during the end, however I feel that perhaps the least painful and emotional things we can talk about, no matter how painful and emotional they were, are the ones farthest away from us in time. I enjoyed both of his books tremendously and would recommend them to anyone looking for a good autobiography.
 
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More 'Tis: A Memoir reviews
review by . February 21, 2007
`TIS is the continuing story of author Frank McCourt's life that he began telling in ANGELA'S ASHES; a dark, moving, and humorous memoir about his life growing up in Limerick, Ireland. That book netted McCourt a host of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, and ended with McCourt's return to America. `TIS begins right where ANGELA'S ASHES ended. The story tells about McCourt's early adventures in the United States, his service in the military, his return visits to Ireland, his first marriage, the …
review by . August 05, 2006
This is a wonderful sequel to Angela's Ashers and a very well written one. As one reviewer has pointed out, it is indeed not Angela's Ashes, nor was it suppose to be. This is a story of a mans life. It is rather harsh in places and I have to admit that I admire the author even more for being so truthful and showing us his life growing up in New York, warts and all. That takes a lot of honesty and must have been quite painful for the author. From a personal stand point, I feel that McCourt is one …
review by . June 08, 2000
Man, this man can write! I so much enjoy McCourt's simple, casual style that sneaks up on you sometimes. To me, the only reason this book doesn't rate quite as high as Angela's Ashes is that it isn't quite as moving (a success story instead of a poverty story...thus less dramatic). McCourt does a great job of pointing out human follies and foibles in such a casual manner, such as his digs at the military for taking him away from work he was good at (dog training) and putting him to waste...or in …
review by . April 14, 2000
Pros: Continuation of a great story     Cons: Not as good as the previous work     Frank McCourt continues the story of his life begun in Angela's Ashes. Although this is a good continuation of a good story, I found it to have less of a "punch" than the predecessor.      Mr. McCourt IS truly an astonishing person. The things that he endured as he grew up could have killed the spirit of most people. He persevered and set goals …
review by . February 07, 2000
Pros: sequel to Angela's Ashes     Cons: lukewarm, dragged     So, Angela's Ashes was wonderful and you'd think Tis would be as well...right? Wrong! As with most sequels, it doesn't hold a candle to the original.      Frank McCourt tries to expound on his life in America and the trials he endures as a young man. He has a beautiful way of writing which allows the reader to feel his every emotion, yet towards the end of the book, it was almost …
review by . December 04, 1999
Those of us who grew to cherish the irresitible McCourt children of "Angela's Ashes" waded through Malachy's memoirs until we could take up the Limerick jigs in brother Frank's sequel. Well here 'tis and though many readers have been dissappointed in the struggles in America, struggles so related to the prior Irish version of world view, I find the growing pains of the "re-patriated Frank" endearing. The view of the self as secretively fraudulent is not new, but rarely has the payche of the American …
About the reviewer
John L. Murphy ()
Ranked #51
Medievalist turned humanities professor; unrepentant but not unskeptical Fenian; overconfident accumulator of books & music; overcurious seeker of trivia, quadrivia, esoterica.      … more
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Wiki

'Tis a blessing that the author narrates his own work. McCourt follows up his Audie Award-winning performance inAngela's Asheswith another brilliant reading as he chronicles his return to post-World War II New York. Like all good storytellers, McCourt has good stories to tell;'Tispulses with grim adversity and quiet triumphs--character-shaping moments that gain the listener's empathy. What makes McCourt agreatstoryteller is his ability to give these moments just the right amount of humor and perspective. His lyrical tones are wise but not weary; he's survived life's challenges to tell his tale. And while it may be trite to credit McCourt's verbal skills to his Irish heritage, these war stories were undoubtedly polished amongst friends in the pubs.'Tisis Grammy material, and a perfect example of how an author's voice can enhance the written word. (Running time: 6 hours, 4 cassettes)--Rob McDonald--This text refers to theAudio Cassetteedition.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0684865742
ISBN-13: 978-0684865744
Author: Frank McCourt
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Publisher: Scribner
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