Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

I give this 3.5 out of 5 Stars!

Description: "Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood," writes Frank McCourt in Angela's Ashes. "Worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." Welcome, then, to the pinnacle of the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. Born in Brooklyn in 1930 to recent Irish immigrants Malachy and Angela McCourt, Frank grew up in Limerick after his parents returned to Ireland because of poor prospects in America. It turns out that prospects weren't so great back in the old country either--not with Malachy for a father. A chronically unemployed and nearly unemployable alcoholic, he appears to be the model on which many of our more insulting cliches about drunken Irish manhood are based. Mix in abject poverty and frequent death and illness and you have all the makings of a truly difficult early life. Fortunately, in McCourt's able hands it also has all the makings for a compelling memoir.

I haven't being looking forward to reviewing this book.  I honestly don't know what to give it.  I feel almost guilty for giving it 3.5 stars (I considered giving it 3).  Nothing about this book really stands out to me.  I don't understand Irish traditions and customs, nor do I really understand War torn Europe during World War II.  And this books doesn't really help with any of that.  I keep waiting for someone to admit this is a exaggerated fabrication of what life was really like.  I have to admit every time the drunken father shows up I'm reminded of an episode of Family Guy.  Plus, I'm curious were did the father go?   Am I suppose to feel in awe of this young boy who made something of himself by saving money stolen from an elderly women?   Does it make his story more interesting than those who weren't able to escape poverty?  I just don't know....  I do want to know what happened when he reached America, but I'm not sure I will read the next one.

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