The book was good, the audiobook is great! The book is read by the author -- which always makes books better, but with the Irish brogue from the author, it makes it a GEM. This is my all-time favorite audiobook, and I'm not even Irish. It's a great story, a great piece of history, a great autobiography, a great audio story.
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
I have never read a more amazing memoir. McCourt can rip your heart out in one paragraph and make you laugh out loud in the next. This heartbreaking story of poverty in America, then Ireland opens readers' eyes to how a young, innocent boy perceives his piteous life of hunger, prejudice, and loss as perfectly normal. The family struggles to survive, but the loving father's alcoholism and eventual desertion reduces the mother to humiliation and begging and the children to shame and theft. Siblings die; siblings survive. Harsh, judgmental relatives refuse to help. Frank and his brothers make their way in a skewed world where Catholicism causes more guilt and misery than offers comfort.
So where's the humor? you may ask. Everywhere in their world where the abnormal is normal.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. That the author narrates the story of his own life makes it all the more touching.
As I said for the second volume of Frank McCourt's memoir, 'Tis, this book is incredibly moving, blatantly honest, and delightful to the last drop. Not only do you get the joy of hearing an author read his own book, but this particular author has the gift of the voice as well as of the pen, and adds even more emotion to his narration.
Mark, Katherine, Walker, & Rebecca Matthews Our entire family shares this account and various reviews are from the different readers.
First, with Frank McCourt reading his memoir, there is an added air of authenticity to his memories and stories. Second, the way he creates the local denizens of his neighborhoods into excellent characters by interacting with them and not over-describing them is refreshing. It is their relationship with "Frankie" that brings the others in this first-person narrative alive, not just his descriptions of them. Finally, his ability to express his internal thoughts, feelings, angst, and frequent consternation is wonderful and developmentally appropriate for the different ages he traverses. When he is five he sounds like he is five; when he is 15 he sounds like he is 15.
My favorite character is Frankie because he is a lad who had no breaks and continues to plod along and succeed.
First, I love his accent. Second, his cadence and intonation provide excellent pacing for the story. Finally, his tone of voice was able to impart wit, humor, irritation, frustration, and irony I am not sure would have been as clearly evident with the written word alone.
When his young sister dies in New York... very sad.
I have enjoyed this work so much I have listened to it several times.
I am an African American woman living in the U.S. who clearly knew nothing about the Irish. I'm fasinated by this story! It was sad and funny while providing insight into the Catholic church, the oppression of the Irish people told with the innonece of a boy. I doubt that anyone could have read the story better than Frank McCourt. My new favorite book.
When this book first came out in hardcover, it was recommended to me very strongly by someone whose opinion I trusted. I read the first 20 pages, and got so depressed I wanted to kill myself! I put it down and swore never to read it. Even when my best friend forced a copy of it on me 10 years ago. But several years ago, I listened to Teacher Man on audio, and it was great. So I thought that might be the solution for me with Angela's Ashes. Teacher Man was so funny - and I could tell that a large part of that was the way Frank McCourt read the book. He has a terrific voice for these, really expressive and emphatic.
I am so glad I finally listened to this! I just downloaded the audio of 'Tis, so finish off the trilogy. Frank's story is very sad, but with the audio version, I could see the humor in his tale. The pathos of growing up terribly, terribly poor mostly in Ireland, would be too much to take without the humor. Frank starts off his story by saying that his parents should have stayed in New York, and not gone back to Ireland, however I think they would have been just as bad off in New York, if not worse because there they wouldn't have had even the meager amount of familial assistance that they got, mostly from Angela's family. I must say I was actually pretty impressed with Frank's father, aside from the drinking. Now, if you take away the drinking here's very little left, but in those times he was great. He was never abusive, always supportive and caring. But in the end, he was the reason for the family's downfall.
But what makes the book is Mr. McCourt's writing. There are thousands of memoirs, but this is the pinnacle of the genre, and it's not because anything particularly unique or interesting happens. It's because Mr. McCourt is a fantastic writer. He really conveys the feeling of living in these hovels in Limerick, but without bogging down the story with a lot of details. At the same time, he has remembered a huge amount of details from when he was a very young child. The story is at times tragic, mostly horrible, and occasionally interspersed with moments of light and hope. I loved it, and listened to it every chance I got. I am really looking forward to 'Tis, even knowing how things work out since I read the last book first! I am so glad I didn't give up on this book, and instead found a way to read it that worked for me.
The story overall is an inspiring one and there is no denying the resiliancy of the McCourt family. But soooooo many tedious details.
It was hard for me to stick with this one to the end.
I've read "Angela's Ashes" many times, in a hard-copy version and as an audiobook. It's one of my favorites of all time. And who could read it better than its author, Frank McCourt. I remember that the first time I read it, I thought to myself, "I'm not going to read any more if one more baby dies." Luckily for me, none more did.
The depth of the tragic events of McCourt's family is intense. It would be unbearable, if it weren't for McCourt's ability to find humor in any relationship or circumstance. Not many books have made me laugh out loud. This is one of them.
In fact, the balance between despair and humor is an essential element of the greatness of "Angela's Ashes." This is a book that I know I'll return to again and again and always find satisfying.
Excellent book. Wanted it to continue.
So much detail. I think it ranks as the best audio book I have heard so far.
This is my absolute favorite audiobook of all time. I have listened to it many times and enjoy it every time. I reccomend this to anyone who wants to step into the world of audio listening. I also enjoy Tis' and Teacher Man, but this one is my favorite by far.