Frank McCourt is one of my favorite story tellers. The account of his life growing up in a poor Irish family is filled with moments of sadness as well as passages that will tickle your funnybone. But the best part of this audiobook is listening to the man tell the stories. His Irish brogue and his way of interpreting the world through the eyes of a young boy combine to make Angela's Ashes one of my favorite audiobooks.
I avoided this book when it won all of its awards because I was somewhat aware of the contents and it just seemed depressing to me. I read Teacher Man and 'Tis by the author and then a book club friend told me this was in audio and read by the author, which I consider a real plus. This is an incredible story of a family in Ireland, abandoned by the father, and their story of survival. McCourt's memory of his childhood is riveting. You will love this book
I loved hearing Frank McCourt read this book. I also bought 'Tis and Teacher Man. I listened to all three in a row and just ordered the DVD about the McCourt brothers in America. More often, a book bores me after twenty minutes. Less often, it holds my attention. All his books held my attention.
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.
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.
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.
I was very glad the author narrated the book. The book is told from the author's point of view and he narrated his point of view well. As for the content, I agree with the reviewer who found the characters undeveloped. As I listened, I thought I was listening to someone remembering a bunch of unconnected events from age 3 to 17 (in chronological order). Moments of the book were interesting and very sad or sadly comic. But overall, I was disappointed and felt hammered over the head with the same things happening over and over (dad drunk again, mom doing nothing again, kids on the street again, Catholic confession again). Perhaps from a literary perspective, the repetition could be seen as reinforcing the tone and goal of the book. From a historical perspective, maybe it can be seen as a useful slice of life of very poor children (because of drunkenness & unwillingness to get a job) in that time period. But for me, I'm not into it.
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.