Saturday, May 8, 2010

Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt

angela's ashes
frank mccourt
c. 1996
362 pages
completed 5/8/2010

read for: reading western europe challenge, EW new classics

*may contain spoilers*

My father and mother should have stayed in New York where they met and married and where I was born.

Frank McCourt's memoir of his early life. Born in New York at the beginning of the Great Depression, McCourt's family moved to Ireland when he was four. McCourt's memoir begins before his birth and continues through years of abject poverty until he turns nineteen.

I feel a little weird reviewing memoirs, like it's not my place to dislike it because this was actually the author's life. So this review will probably be short.

To be honest, I thought very seriously on several occasions about abandoning this book. I didn't, mostly because that would have been the third book in little more than a month that I had abandoned and I was not down with that, so I stuck it out. I have problems with people who take artistic license with punctuation. I know I've said this before, but I really do believe we have rules on punctuation for a reason. It seems to happen a lot in memoirs especially that people just decide that they have no need for quotation marks. I have a need for quotation marks.

The story (should I call it that in a memoir?) is what I really have trouble critiquing because how can one critique what actually happened? As such I will just say that there was only so much detail on such abject poverty that I could take before I began to get irritated with certain people. And then I felt bad that I felt irritated, but I couldn't stop feeling irritated. I think this book was invoking emotions in me that it wasn't supposed to. There were parts of the book I liked. I thought it was really funny and touching in some places, mostly concerning Frank and his brothers. I did really like Frank. Not so much Angela. She was the one I really got irritated with. And then felt bad about. I'm glad I managed to finish this, but I don't think it's going to stick with me.


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