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Angela's Ashes - Portrait Of An Irish Boyhood

Uploaded by Gotskillz on Jun 05, 2005

As someone who spent the majority of his formative childhood living within the realms of a struggling blue-collar Irish-American Catholic neighborhood housing project, much of the atmosphere and flavor so memorably and powerfully described in this best-selling memoir seems like familiar territory, from the hard-drinking and somewhat remote and indifferent fathers to the sainted mothers, from the raucous black humor to the spasms of terrible drama and tragedy, often visited on helplessly impoverished children. Yet Frank McCourt manages to display a unusually colorful and quite unique descriptive power to the florid retelling of this life lived under conditions of extreme privation and misery, a life which he largely describes in terms so dismal, dark and devoid of hope that it is remarkable to witness the degree of grace, resilience, and good humor that he so often brings to bear. It is this most prominent feature of his creative writing that gives such a powerful testimony to his ability as a writer.
Like James Joyce's personal glimpses into Irish lives in his classic series of short stories, "The Dubliners", McCourt evokes the suffocating and smarmy atmosphere of flagrant poverty, to the point that I often found the story difficult to read. Thus, regardless of how well he illustrates the ways in which he and his family struggled to overcome the circumstances, it was, for me at least, often difficult reading. For any of us who have actually lived under such circumstances of privation, these powerfully drawn recollections can be challenging and painful to recall. And while I would never suggest that my own experiences approach the extremes of want and squalor described herein, I took a long time to finally work my way into the portions of the book where the McCourt brothers finally triumph based on their American citizenry. While the tone of the memoir is sometimes downbeat and sullen, the progress of these two young pilgrims toward a life of greater promise is one that gains ballast as we progress toward the end.

The memoir is, as one has come to expect, full of the usual Irish complaints, from the egregious and often outrageous alcoholism of the father and Irish men in general to the full McCourt treatment regarding the so-called Irish troubles and the unmitigated perfidy of the dreaded English. Having heard all this throughout my fifty years, it finally becomes tiresome, boring and irrelevant to hear all...

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Uploaded by:   Gotskillz

Date:   06/05/2005

Category:   Literature

Length:   2 pages (501 words)

Views:   4615

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