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

by Frank McCourt

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16,812276105 (3.99)327
Member:virg144
Title:Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
Authors:Frank McCourt
Info:Scribner
Collections:Donated Aug 2010 for the Aflac Cancer Center Book Sale
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (1996)

  1. 70
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (cataylor)
  2. 30
    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)
  3. 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.
  4. 53
    Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (nu-bibliophile)
  5. 20
    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (readerbabe1984)
  6. 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 .
  7. 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)
  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. 11
    The Dark by John McGahern (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both stories are about young men growing up in poverty in Ireland.
  12. 00
    The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein (RoxieF)
  13. 00
    No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (dpf2102)
    dpf2102: Similar stories of childhood loss.
  14. 01
    Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds by Ping Fu (shesinplainview)
  15. 01
    All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  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 327 mentions

English (255)  Spanish (6)  Italian (5)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Estonian (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (276)
Showing 1-5 of 255 (next | show all)
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

The narrator, Frank McCourt, describes how his parents meet in Brooklyn, New York. After his mother, Angela, becomes pregnant with Frank, she marries Malachy, the father of her child. Angela struggles to feed her growing family of sons, while Malachy spends his wages on alcohol. Frank’s much-loved baby sister, Margaret, dies and Angela falls into depression. The McCourts decide to return to Ireland. More troubles plague the McCourts in Ireland: Angela has a miscarriage, Frank’s two younger brothers die, and Malachy continues to drink away the family’s money.

Frank’s childhood is described as a time of great deprivation, but of good humor and adventure as well. When the first floor of the house floods during the winter, Angela and Malachy announce that the family will leave the cold damp of the first floor, which they call “Ireland,” and move to the warm, cozy second floor, which they call “Italy.” Although Malachy’s alcoholism uses up all of the money for food, he earns Frank’s love and affection by entertaining him with stories about Irish heroes and the people who live on their lane.

Over the course of a few years, Angela gives birth to two sons, Michael and Alphonsus. Alphosus is called “Alphie” for short. As Frank grows older, the narration increasingly focuses on his exploits at school. When Frank turns ten, he is confirmed (Confirmation is a ritual that makes one an official Christian or Catholic. When Frank was growing up, people were confirmed around ages seven to ten). Right after his confirmation, Frank falls ill with typhoid fever and must stay in the hospital for months. There, he gets his first introduction to Shakespeare. Frank finds comfort in stories of all kinds, from Shakespeare to movies to newspapers. By the time he returns to school, his gift for language is obvious. In particular, Frank’s flair for storytelling gets him noticed by his teacher.

With the onset of World War II, many fathers in Limerick go to England to find work and send money back to their families. Eventually, Malachy goes as well, but he fails to send money home. Frank begins to work for Mr. Hannon. This is the first in a series of jobs. Frank will go on to work for Mr. Timoney, Uncle Ab, the post office, Mrs. Finucane, and Mr. McCaffrey. Frank enjoys the feeling of responsibility he gets from working, and he dreams of saving enough to provide his family with food and clothes.

The McCourts get evicted from their lodgings and must move in with Angela’s cousin Laman. Angela begins sleeping with Laman, an arrangement that makes Frank increasingly uncomfortable and angry. He also begins to feel guilty about his own sexual feelings. The priests’ strict mandates against masturbation make Frank feel guilty when he masturbates.

While working as a messenger boy, Frank begins a sexual relationship with a customer, Theresa Carmody, who eventually dies of consumption, leaving Frank heartbroken. Frank saves enough money to get to New York. On his first night there, he attends a party and sleeps with an American woman. Though sad to leave behind Ireland and his family, Frank has great expectations for the future. ( )
  bostonwendym | Jul 26, 2016 |
As much as I loved reading this book years ago, the audiobook got a little monotonous at times. I feel bad saying that since the author narrated it but oh well. ( )
  pennma05 | Jul 21, 2016 |
Frank
  StPaulsChurch | Jul 19, 2016 |
To read - or in my case, listen - to McCourt's poverty, illness and family hardship upbringing in Limerick, Ireland was like experiencing his childhood firsthand. A very haunting experience. The excellent descriptive writing made it possible for me to visualize Ireland of the 1930-1940's. While there is some humour in this memoir - Angela's two female cousins who descend upon Frank's as yet unmarried parents when they still resided in America is a hoot to read about! - but other than that, this one does not have the overall cheery feel I found in Brendon O'Carroll's Agnes Browne memoir series. Even with the painful childhood described in this one made me weep for Frank (and really want to wring his father's neck!), I found this to be a somewhat cathartic read: a purging of the past to move on with the future. I am already looking forward to reading the next book, 'Tis, in the author's memoir series. ( )
  lkernagh | Jul 1, 2016 |
This memoir by Frank McCourt is tough and sad. He is brought up in the slums of Limerick, Ireland......his mother has no money to feed or clothe her children and his father, who rarely works, and when he does get money in his hand drinks it all down the pub. It is an excellent book......sad, enduring, poignant and powerful. ( )
  mazda502001 | Jun 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 255 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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)

(summary from another edition)

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