Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Angela's Ashes

Angela's Ashes
by Frank McCourt

Today I finished reading Angela's Ashes, drinking tea and eating Irish soda bread with jam (tea with bread and jam make a frequent appearance in the book). Only there weren't four kids sitting in the bed with me dressed in rags, and I had eaten other meals today.

This book is a memoir of growing up in Limerick, Ireland in the 1930s and 40s. Frank McCourt sums up his story quite poignantly on the very first page:

"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived 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."

The story is quite sad from beginning to end, and you really do wonder how he was able to survive such harsh conditions. The words "resilience" and "spirit" spring to mind, and I am left with a harrowing picture of what Ireland used to be like.

4 out of 5

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