by Frank McCourt
reviewed by Lilian Welwood
Angela’s Ashes, an Autobiographical bildungsroman, is an Irish story that tugs at the heart. Frank Mccourt is the son of Angela and Malachy Mccourt along with the brother of Malachy Jr, two twins Oliver and Gene, and a new baby Girl named Margaret. Frank Mccourt's story starts with the birth of the mother Angela’s birth into a catholic family, and goes on and explains her family forced marriage to the Irish man Malachy Mccourt. The story is written from the innocent young point of view of Frank Mccourt. Frank takes us through his terribly impoverished childhood, having a father that drinks away his daily wages leaving the his mother and siblings hungry, and the sudden deaths of 3 of his siblings causing his mother Angela to go into depression, Frank feels the need to take care of his family. As a young child Frank wants to “be like all the big people in the church, standing and kneeling and praying and understanding everything” (Mccourt.108) under the unrealistic impression that all adults understand everything. Throughout his childhood Frank has a real respect for adults, especially his father. Despite his drinking and little help to the family Frank’s Father Malachy Mccourt really grabs the respect and love from Frank as their relationship grows stronger through the stories and lessons he teaches his son.
The author, Frank Mccourt’s innocent and curious point of view gives the sad childhood story a refreshing and comic relief touch, that really makes reading it very enjoyable. As Frank grows up the audience really can see through the new insights and his growing knowledge that he gets wiser as time passes. Having to deal with going to school and getting jeered at for wearing old shoes nailed with squares of tire to having to walk around town on christmas eve being laughed at and called, “Frankie McCourt an’ his pig’s snout”(98) for having to carry a pig's head home for a christmas dinner, the themes in difference in societal class and perseverance are shown in a wonderful ways through the eyes of McCourt's child and young adult self. Overall I enjoyed Frank McCourt's story telling.