“Angela’s Ashes”, by Frank McCourt, tells the story of the authors’ childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood in Limerick, Ireland, during the Great Depression and Second World War. Though Frank and his family live in a state of deep poverty, the narrative never dwells upon the woeful situation, instead relating it almost as uninteresting but necessary information. The gripe on his family’s monetary condition that could have been is instead replaced with a story of astoundingly complete remembrances, characterized by their faultless timing and sprinkling of side-splitting hilarity, related with a comically straight face. Adding to the reader’s experience are the nature of the stories themselves, which reveal enlightening pictures of Ireland and the Irish at that period, as well as the period itself, yet remaining interesting simply by the episodes the story contains. The plot also enjoys the benefit of a number of particularly absurd and remarkable characters.
Though “Angela’s Ashes” does not contort the mind in finding inner meaning and metaphor, I found it to be quite entertaining, and a testament to the value of perseverance, self control, and loving family; I have found it to be worthy of readership. McCourt’s exquisitely executed humor earns high marks with me as well, and has a definite influence in my seven point five out of ten rating. As for an age range, I would say that readers from an age of about 8 or 9 and older to adulthood would enjoy these memoirs. However, the latter part of “Angela’s Ashes” contains some adult recollections, and may make that section unsuitable for younger readers.
-M. A. Rigby, Period A2