Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Book cover Angela\'s Ashes by Frank McCourtAngela’s Ashes won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997. Everybody was talking about it that year and mostly they were saying how sad it was. Oh brilliantly written dahling but oh soooo sad.

Maybe because of that and also maybe because I’m not into autobiographies I decided Frank McCourt’s memoir of his childhood was a book I could safely miss.

Last week, waiting for my Bloggers Book Club novel to arrive, I scanned Groover’s collection of bookclub books and saw it on the shelf. I’ve been thinking about Ireland lately because of Ken and because I’ve recently re-discovered my Ireland blog and photos and so thought maybe it’s time.

I. Loved. It.

What a brilliant book. Yes it is sad. The poverty of his Irish Catholic childhood in Limerick unbelievable. Grinding. Unimaginable.

But it is also inspirational. You know by the very fact it’s a memoir, an autobiography not a biography, that he survives and makes a success of his life. His indomitable spirit is a light in the grimy lanes of Limerick.

His writing is wistful, funny, sad, shocking and most of all engaging. So while the subject is sad the book overall is uplifting.

I was looking for the book cover image and I came across the film on imdb.com. What amused me were the key words:
Masturbation | Urination Scene | Eclipse | Sadistic Teacher | Social Commentary

There are a lot more but those five were the plot keywords mentioned first.

I might have to go out and see if I can find the dvd… was it any good?

Book reviews all readers
Judd Brothers

Interview with Frank McCourt

6 Replies to “Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt”

  1. I haven’t read it yet. It’s on my list but every time I get to the library it just gone out or it’s due back the next day. I don’t mind waiting, I’m sure the wait will be worth it.

  2. I read this book a few years ago – very insightful into the poverty of some families. It made me rub my eyes all the time though.
    He has certainly achieved a great name for himself. Inspiring.

  3. Angela’s Ashes is a great book, mostly because it is written in such a simple yet deceptively clever style.

    I wouldn’t rush to the movie though – I found that the considerable quantity of misery in the book was spread neatly across all the pages but, when condensed into a 2 hour (ish) film, it became nearly too much to bear and certainly too much to enjoy. It’s a fairly good film but, boy, it’s not a blast!

    If you don’t already know the answer, this might be an interestingquestion – why is the book called ‘Angela’s Ashes’? 🙂

  4. That’s a good question…

    My guess is he waited til she died before writing/publishing it. She’s not listed in the dedication and probably would have been shamed by parts of it.

    Or maybe it’s because smoking was her “only pleasure”.

    Now I’ll go google it. 🙂

  5. I’ve become a victim of my own question!

    When Frank McCourt came to Castlebar Library, I asked him this question and he answered it.

    But, man, I’ve struggled this morning to find that same answer online anywhere. Maybe you’ve had better luck, please let me know ‘cos I’ve just spent a *silly* amount of time trying to find it.

    Anyway, the answer I was given by Frank went something like this…

    There’s been a lot of stuff written about how the title refers to the ashes falling off Angelas cigarette but that’s not the case. In fact the book was written together with T’is (the sequel) and they were both given to the publishers as one package. They were broken into two books with the second book finishing up with Angela’s Ashes being brought back to Ireland for burial. The title remained on the first book even though the ashes didn’t appear until the end of the second.

    The only (sort of) validation of this explanation which I managed to find is here – at the end:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/'Tis

    Anyway, that’s what the man himself told me.

    I’ve wore meself out now!!

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