Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt is a memoir of Frank's childhood in NYC and Limerick, Ireland. It is very well written, drawing you into his life in vivid detail. It was as if I was watching a movie, not reading, seeing each setting, each person in amazing detail. It makes me want to read about what happened in his life when he returned to America as a young man.
McCourt's story is an almost stereotypical description of the Irish drunk father, the long-suffering mother, one child born after another, with survival being a miracle, an exception to the rule. The horrible living conditions, the relentless hunger, the eventual turn to stealing for survival all contribute to a picture of a life of barely surviving. In these conditions, Frank attended school, contended with bullying, with mean-spirited adults in his life who unrelentingly told him in every way that he was no good, not worth keeping alive, a sinner doomed to hell. The few adults who were kind or encouraging shone like a beacon in the never-ending grayness of his existence.
It is a miracle that Frank survived. I am so curious how he became a writer. Was there further education? What work did he initially find when he returned to America. My next book is Tis by Frank McCourt, the story of his early years in America.