Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

73%

11 Critic Reviews

An extraordinary work in every way. McCourt magically retrieves love, dignity, and humor from a childhood of hunger, loss and pain.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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 does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Perhaps it is a story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing shoes repaired with tires, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner, and searching the pubs for his father, 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.
 

About Frank McCourt

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Frank McCourt (1930-2009) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Irish immigrant parents, grew up in Limerick, Ireland, and returned to America in 1949. For thirty years he taught in New York City high schools. His first book, Angela's Ashes, won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the L.A. Times Book Award. In 2006, he won the prestigious Ellis Island Family Heritage Award for Exemplary Service in the Field of the Arts and the United Federation of Teachers John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education.
 
Published December 17, 1998 by Scribner. 369 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Angela's Ashes
All: 11 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good

An extraordinary work in every way. McCourt magically retrieves love, dignity, and humor from a childhood of hunger, loss and pain.

Read Full Review of Angela's Ashes | See more reviews from Kirkus

Book Reporter

Above average
on Jan 20 2011

A downer, you may think. Not at all. Though horrifying, the book is incredibly funny.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
on Sep 20 1996

The power of Angela's Ashes is that it makes you believe the claim; that despite the rags and hunger and pain, love and strength do come out of misery...

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The Washington Post

Above average
on Jul 19 2009

It confirms the stereotypes at the same time that it transcends them through the sharpness and precision of McCourt's observation and the wit and beauty of his prose.

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USA Today

Above average

This absorbing, affecting memoir is the story of a man who grew up not in the war-torn territory of Cabrini Green...

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Boston.com

Good
on Jul 20 2009

The book’s clear-eyed look at childhood misery, its incongruously lilting, buoyant prose, and its heartfelt urgency struck a remarkable chord with readers and critics.

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People

Good
on Oct 21 1996

The poor Irish-Catholic childhood has become a kind of cliché, but McCourt, in his first book, has constructed a splendid memoir from his family's ruins.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Frankie G. on Aug 27 2014

McCourt, when talking about his poverty-stricken childhood, could have induced self-pity, but instead he chooses a narrative voice that allows him to return to Frankie the child in a way that endears his character to the reader.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by historyfreak on Aug 27 2014

The book is beautiful in all kinds of ways, somber and humorous, unsurprising from an Irish family in the early 20th century. It’s really a story about the adult world through the eyes of a child and how that child comes to accept life’s odd circumstances as he grows up.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Bapalapa2 on Aug 26 2014

Through each and every struggle that he endures, Frank becomes increasingly determined. He approaches life with a certain tenacity that is simply bound to lift him up off the streets of Limerick and on to a better life.

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https://shelflove.wordpress.com

Below average
Reviewed by Jenny on Dec 26 2009

I did see power and beauty in the writing, and was grateful for the few who show kindness in the book, and I found (again, like almost every time I read about the past in the West) a renewed thankfulness for feminism, but no. No, I didn’t like Angela’s Ashes much.

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