Angela's Ashes: A Memoir of a Childhood

Front Cover
Harper Perennial, 2005 - Children - 452 pages
243 Reviews
When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy-- exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling-- does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies. Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors--yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness. Angela's Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

This book was HARD to read. - Goodreads
It's great, loved the writing and story telling. - Goodreads
Beautiful prose and a relatable protagonist. - Goodreads
The ending was happy though. - Goodreads
There is some great writing in this book. - Goodreads
The writing is lyrical and concise. - Goodreads

Review: Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt #1)

User Review  - Sterlin - Goodreads

Angela's Ashes glows as a must read memoir; it's a work of gold. The author, Frank McCourt, recounts his life growing up in Ireland during the 1900's. It's at once a coming of age tale and survival ... Read full review

Review: Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt #1)

User Review  - Stacey Peery - Goodreads

Angela's Ashes is written from the viewpoint and thoughts of a child/ kid/ teenager. It's not the quickest read and it's pretty slow. You just hope things will get better for Frank, which is why I ... Read full review

All 23 reviews »

About the author (2005)

'Angela's Ashes' won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics' Circle Award. For thirty years he taught in NYC schools, before, in his 60s, settling down to write his story.

Bibliographic information