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Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt

Angela's Ashes: A Memoir (original 1996; edition 2003)

by Frank McCourt

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,253256108 (3.99)291
Title:Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
Authors:Frank McCourt
Collections:Donated Aug 2010 for the Aflac Cancer Center Book Sale

Work details

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (1996)

  1. 60
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (cataylor)
  2. 20
    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (readerbabe1984)
  3. 42
    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.
  4. 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 .
  5. 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)
  6. 10
    Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (TomWaitsTables)
  7. 10
    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)
  8. 00
    44: Dublin Made Me by Peter Sheridan (Fliss88)
  9. 00
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (KayCliff)
  10. 11
    The Dark by John McGahern (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both stories are about young men growing up in poverty in Ireland.
  11. 00
    No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (dpf2102)
    dpf2102: Similar stories of childhood loss.
  12. 00
    The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein (RoxieF)
  13. 33
    Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (nu-bibliophile)
  14. 01
    All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  15. 01
    Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds by Ping Fu (shesinplainview)
  16. 01
    Q & A by Vikas Swarup (shesinplainview)
    shesinplainview: One is true, one is fiction, but both about boys growing up in inconceivable proverty.

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» See also 291 mentions

English (236)  Spanish (5)  Italian (5)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Estonian (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (256)
Showing 1-5 of 236 (next | show all)
This is a tough book to review. The writing is beautiful - I can see why it won the Pulitzer. However, the people depicted are so mean spirited and just plain awful, it's hard to like the book. It's even worse, because it is a memoir, and the narrator/author seems not to recognize how nastily everyone behaves.

Certainly the poverty and ignorance explain some of the terrible behaviour, but not all. And that's what makes it such a tough read. ( )
  darushawehm | Oct 24, 2015 |
The story is interesting but it's a terrible read. I question McCourt's understanding of punctuation and his ability to stay on topic without rambling. ( )
  krbauman | Oct 23, 2015 |
The walk through McCourt's childhood in Ireland was deeply moving, but I passionately hated his parents. I mean, I really hated them. They bothered me so much that it was almost painful to read at times.

I saw the previews for the film version--it seemed to portray McCourt's parents positively, as doing the best they could, as lovable, impoverished saints with a few problems (I can't remember if I did actually watch the movie and that's how I know this), but I just can't get past my judgment. McCourt makes a good hero, though; he's a remarkable man. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
I see why this book has gotten so many rave reviews. It just wasn't rave-worthy for me. It didn't scratch me where I itch. Go ahead and call me an "eejit" (side note: I experimented with talking like an Irishman for a solid two days because of this book).

The story itself is as fascinating as it is depressing. There were times when I thought, "Oh my god, enough with the drunk father," and then I had to remind myself that this ACTUALLY HAPPENED. There's no "dialing back" the alcoholism (or the poverty or the illness or whatever) because it's all true to life. This book showed me a thing or two about human resilience and persistence.

I wasn't a huge fan of the writing. It was kind of meander-y for my liking. The narrator (Frankie) is so funny and good-natured though. He was the highlight of the book. His religious conflicts were particularly entertaining. I was engaged enough with the story to want to read up on Frank's life in America, though I'm not compelled to read the follow-up book to this. Overall, I just didn't find myself looking forward to reading this every night, so 3 stars it is. ( )
  KimHooperWrites | May 25, 2015 |
What a story!!! I read this book long long time ago as a little girl still in school. My cousin gave it to me and it was the first book i ever read. I call this book starting point of my reading addiction. After all these years i still wondered about this book and never really understood the great reviews i occasionally read in different forums which off course meant i had to read it again some day! And so it happens that i stumble upon this epic.

Finished this book in 3 sittings spread over 2 days and o boy what a story. Having grown up in India, i always imagined that all European countries are rich ones. This book is a glimpse into the irish history & poverty and what its like growing up in utter desperation. Heart touching and definitely a book that will keep me thinking about Frankie and his growing up years, Angela and her utter frustration of raising a family with husband who cares all about his pint and all other characters

Now i know and understand this book so much better after having read it as a grown up ( )
  Binnymalik | May 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 236 (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 (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCourt, Frankprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jonkheer, ChristienTranslatorsecondary 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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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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)

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