Angela’s Ashes is the melancholy story of an impoverished Irish Catholic family as told through the eyes of their eldest son: Frank McCourt. The strength of the book lies in the vivid characterizations, the honesty of the narrative and the beautifully descriptive writing. The McCourt family is reduced to begging, to painting their legs black in order to hide the holes in their stockings and to living in a house with an outhouse used by the entire neighbourhood. “Angela’s Ashes” is a story of survival against great odds. McCourt neatly captures the feeling of what it was like to grow up in abject poverty, suffering tremendous hunger and humiliation on a daily basis.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
Our members really enjoyed the book, although most of us found the first third very difficult to read due to the deaths of the three little ones. We were impressed by Mr. McCourt’s simple writing style, and by his inclusion of incidents which must have been embarrassing and painful to re-live. We were disappointed by Angela’s lack of action to save her family from hunger, but concluded that we were wishing for a Hollywood ending that could not have occurred in reality. We look forward to reading McCourt’s sequel to “Angela’s Ashes” entitled ” ‘Tis”.