A breakaway best seller since its first printing, All Souls takes us deep into Michael Patrick MacDonald's Southie, the proudly insular neighborhood with the highest concentration of white poverty in America. Rocked by Whitey Bulger's crime schemes and busing riots, MacDonald's Southie is populated by sharply hewn characters like his Ma, a mini-skirted, accordion-playing single mother who endures the deaths of four of her eleven children. Nearly suffocated by his grief and his community's code of silence, MacDonald tells his family story here with gritty but moving honesty.
©2007 Michael MacDonald (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Yes. I downloaded All Souls on 6/17 and and finished all 8 hours and 24 minutes of it by this 6/21. And this is with a full time job that includes travel, a 2 year old at home and assorted other activities. I was hooked from the moment I started. I am about as far removed from Southie as can be. I was born in India to middle class parents with the means to educate me, came to the US when I was 28 and being in IT, have managed to carve out a comfortable suburban existence for the 15 years I have been in the US. But I have always been in part fascinated and in part befuddled by the poverty in America. In India, and in other 3rd world countries, the poor are everywhere and in your face. In the US they remain hidden in places like Southie and even there too there is a narrative that seems to cast this sheen of quasi prosperity on them. I think America is in denial about its poor and books like these are a window into their lives. And with one political party capable of only mean spiritedness towards the poor and the other making only half hearted attempts towards any form of poverty alleviation, people like Michael Macdonald play an indispensable role today in educating us of our problems as well as suggesting concrete steps towards helping the poor.I think the best way to describe the book was that by the end, I felt a sense of kinship and connection with all the characters in the book, particularly the mother. And this, when I have very little in common with them. That is a sign of a good book, one that appeals to your emotions and exposes you to a world beyond your own and motivates you to take action.Highly recommended.
Addicted to Audible!
I generally don't like memoirs and don't usually like when authors read their own work. In this case I enjoyed both. To say I "enjoyed" the book is not exactly correct, it was an awesome book, but really sad, just like an Irish ballad. The author brought the world of his childhood to life and I felt like I was there with his family, sitting in their apartment and looking out their window. The sorrows and the joys, the hopefulness and the tragedies, he describes them all in an unflinchingly honest way.MacDonald is a testiment to the human spirit, he turned his life around and used his pain to help others. Listen to this one!!
It's at the top of the list of the ones I have listened to recently.
Of course it was Michael as it is his story about loving Southie in spite of the forced busing, violence, and loss of siblings.
Southie, the Greatest Neighborhood.
I grew up in the Boston suburbs and lived in Boston in the same time period and never understood until now what it was like in South Boston. I was one of those outsiders who, the one time I ventured in to see the St Patrick's Day Parade, was hit by a beer bottle.
I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."
Michael MacDonald re-lived his life story as he read his memoir—he was reluctant to take the assignment, and I can see why; he is present in every moment, no matter how poignant or raw. He IS Southie.
This is an essential reading of the Irish-American experience, a Boston touchstone to be sure.
A hard look at life in the Boston projects. Illustrates how the poor struggle to survive with drugs and death all around. Also shows the negative side of the social engineering of busing, welfare, and forced integration.
Helen was one tough mother trying to raise her 10 kids under almost impossible conditions. Love the authors authentic Boston accent.
I listen to books all the time, When I am driving, cleaning, cooking or doing anything quiet. I am AUDOBSESSED!
I loved this story! A time in America where racial strife and prejudice were a daily problem. I personally remember watching the race riots from my porch as a little girl. The family in this book is tragic, and most of the people in it are, but there are many sweet endearing moments. I know it will bring back memories for everyone. If you love Irish people and their stories you will love this!
Exceeded all expectations! By the end of the book I learned about a part of Boston I truthfully knew nothing about. The names and experiences will stay with me for a long, long time.
The author Michael brought me to where he grew up and what was normal for "his people ". An eye opener! Thank you for an excellent but sad story.
Greedy, voracious reader since age five. After a number of eye injuries & surgeries, reading is hard. So now, I listen.
'All Souls' is quintessential Americana. A story about that shining city on a hill; or, actually, the people living at the bottom of the hill after all the s#it has rolled down. It's about close-knit, loyal communities with scrappy kids, neighbors who look out for each other, and a culture that has adapted for survival. They must survive grinding poverty, corruption and malfeasance in the police department, indifference or callous manipulation from politicians, collusion between local politics and media in portrayals of these people, and the final, ruinous piece of the puzzle: the drug empire of Whitey Bulger. (Not long ago, the FBI arrested Whitey here in SoCal, where he'd been hiding for 25 years, and I didn't get why it was such a big deal. Now, I get it.) He was the wizard behind the curtain in the South Boston drug trade, and the sickening litany of deaths in this book can mostly be traced to drugs.
The author's sad, resigned voice as he tells how kids died, over and over, his friends, his brothers, is just heartbreaking. The code of silence, born of loyalty and self-protection, means no one is ever punished for these murders.
This memoir is not all sad. The author loves Southie, and its good people, and, in picking the memories of his family and friends, gives a real you-are-there feeling to this memoir.
This story is a great listen. I love it when authors read their own stuff because you get the exact inflection they meant something to have. This book makes you feel like you actually know the MacDonald family whether you're from Boston or not.
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