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Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Angela's Ashes (1996)

by Frank McCourt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Frank McCourt’s memoirs (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
17,357281100 (3.99)347
  1. 70
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (cataylor)
  2. 52
    Teacher Man by Frank McCourt (Joles)
    Joles: Written in the same style as Angela's Ashes, this deals with Frank's teaching in New York.
  3. 20
    The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: The Hiding Place is often compared to Angela's Ashes. The settings and subject matter are indeed very similar; however, McCourt's book has a lot of humour written between the depressing bits. And the Hiding Place is more creative and literary. Two very different approaches to poverty in the British Isles.… (more)
  4. 20
    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (readerbabe1984)
  5. 20
    Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor (raton-liseur)
    raton-liseur: L’Etoile des mers est un roman, il décrit l’Irlande rurale, les luttes politiques du XIXème siècle. Mais ce ne sont pas ses seules différences avec les Cendres d’Angela. C’est aussi et surtout un régal de lecture, tant par sa trame que son écriture et par son intérêt historique.… (more)
  6. 53
    Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (nu-bibliophile)
  7. 20
    The Life Before Us by Romain Gary (olyvia)
    olyvia: Un reel bijoux de tendresse et d'emotion , a ne pas rater pour ceux qui ont aimé les cendres d'angela .
  8. 10
    Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (TomWaitsTables)
  9. 00
    44: Dublin Made Me by Peter Sheridan (Fliss88)
  10. 00
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (KayCliff)
  11. 00
    The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein (RoxieF)
  12. 00
    No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (dpf2102)
    dpf2102: Similar stories of childhood loss.
  13. 11
    The Dark by John McGahern (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both stories are about young men growing up in poverty in Ireland.
  14. 01
    All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg (BookshelfMonstrosity)

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» See also 347 mentions

English (259)  Spanish (6)  Italian (5)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Estonian (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All (280)
Showing 1-5 of 259 (next | show all)
"It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish Catholic Childhood." Right there on the first page these words tell the reader you are in store for a personal glimpse into the life of the author who has quite a story to tell that will be moving, filled with realness, humor, and sadness. You can see why Angela's Ashes is my favorite book. ( )
  marh2 | Jul 10, 2017 |
Bring the tissues! Frank McCourt's member about growing up impoverished in Ireland is beautifully written and completely heartbreaking at times. Recommended for high school students, particularly in upper grades. ( )
  VClarke | Jul 9, 2017 |
Frank McCourt tells about his impoverished childhood and adolescence in Ireland. His father was a drunkard who could not hold down a job. He eventually left for work in London, rarely coming home. Frank's mother put up with too much abuse from her husband. Death of children was too common in the family. The Catholic Church was important in their live. It's a sad story. Frank finally earns his way to America. ( )
  thornton37814 | Mar 29, 2017 |
Frank McCourt relives his early life in this memoir, covering from when he was a very young boy until his teenage years. The book opens with his family living in squalor in 1930s New York, dealing with poverty so deep that he and his younger brothers are near starvation. Things come to a head when his infant sister dies. His immigrant parents opt to return home to Ireland, in hopes of things being better there. Instead, they meet with more poverty, illness, and death as his mother struggles to feed the family while his father repeatedly spends his wages on alcohol and loses jobs as a result of drunken nights. As Frank ages, he endeavors to find ways to earn money on his own, eventually deciding that his best option is to return to America someday.

Despite the seemingly depressing nature of this book, I found it riveting. It was one of those books that once I started it, I didn't want to put it down. McCourt writes in such a lovely way -- the text flows easily; he captures the young child's voice so well and slowly changes the tone as his young self ages; he subtly connects the book to the wide world of literature with references to legends, poetry, and more; and he infuses so much humor throughout the book that the horrible situations seem at least slightly less awful.

There are many interesting people that we meet throughout the book from McCourt's Uncle Pa Keating who doesn't "give a fiddler's fart" about anything, to his Uncle Ab Sheehan who was dropped on his head as a baby and is a little off as a result, to his neighbor Nora Molloy who periodically checks herself into the lunatic asylum for a rest from her woes of dealing with raising her family in abject conditions. There are also numerous other neighbors, classmates, teachers, priests, and so forth who young Frankie meets and associates with, each with their own unique personality traits.

This title was one from my book club, and it made for a lively discussion on all types of topics. I highly recommend it as an interesting read that puts a lot into perspective. My only reservation is for those who are squeamish, as there is quite a bit of talk about bodily functions, death, and other tragedies. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Mar 24, 2017 |
The story of a boy growing up in a poverty-stricken Irish family. There are heartbreaking scenes of the death of little brothers and sisters and the hunger and filth the family have to live in, but the general tone is light due to the straightforward logic of the boy-narrator, which clashes with the absurdities of real life. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 259 (next | show all)
A spunky, bittersweet memoir.
added by Shortride | editTime, John Elson (Sep 23, 1996)
Frank McCourt waited more than four decades to tell the story of his childhood, and it's been well worth the wait. With ''Angela's Ashes,'' he has [written] a book that redeems the pain of his early years with wit and compassion and grace. He has written a book that stands with ''The Liars Club'' by Mary Karr and Andre Aciman's ''Out of Egypt'' as a classic modern memoir.
For the most part, [McCourt's] style is that of an Irish-American raconteur, honorably voluble and engaging. He is aware of his charm but doesn't disgracefully linger upon it. Induced by potent circumstances, he has told his story, and memorable it is.
This memoir is an instant classic of the genre -- all the more remarkable for being the 66-year-old McCourt's first book.

» Add other authors (41 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCourt, Frankprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jonkheer, ChristienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KjellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rowohlt, HarryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wissen, Driek vanContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to my brothers,
Malachy, Michael, Alphonsus.
I learn from you, I admire you and I love you.
First words
My father and mother should have stayed in New York where they met and married and where I was born.
Shakespeare is like mashed potatoes, you can never get enough of him.
When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived it 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.
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Book description
Frank McCourt's memoir Angela's Ashes is an unusual immigrant story, told from the view of the person the author was at a particular stage in his life.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 068484267X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:58 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

"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.… (more)

» see all 15 descriptions

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