The same vulnerable but invincible spirit that captured our hearts in the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes comes of age in 'Tis.
Listen as Frank tells in his own inimitable voice his story of how at the age of 19 he traveled from Limerick to New York in pursuit of the American dream. Despite the abundance of unsolicited advice he gets to "join the cops" and "stick to his own kind", Frank knows that he should educate himself and somehow rise above his circumstances.
And though he left school at 14, he talks his way into New York University, falls in love with the quintessential Yankee, long-legged and blond, and tries to live his dream. But it is not until he starts to teach - and to write - that Frank finds his place in the world. And for those of us who are lucky enough to come across his writings - and captivating readings - 'Tis a wonderful thing that he did.
©1999 Frank McCourt, All Rights Reserved (P)1999 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved, AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.
This is the continuation of the autobiography begun in ANGELA'S ASHES, watching the author return to America, navigating through his late adolescence and early adulthood.
Although every bit as delightfully drawn as the first volume, the voice changes into just what one might expect from a boy loose, on his own in New York City, drinking, whoring, surviving a stint in the military, and struggling to find a comfortable place teaching in the NYC public school system.
Be prepared for the change in tone from the one McCourt used in Angela's Ashes. He's raising himself now, from the street up, and his language is peppered with all the color (what my parents would call unnecesary cursing) you might expect from most any young lad his age. If you listen carefully, though, you'll hear the same sensitive heart beating in the story, again masterfully read by McCourt.
I've been a books on tape junkie for a decade but this is my first review.
I like reading customer reviews and just wanted to say that this story totally rocks. I haven't laughed out loud this much with an audio book in years. He's a excellent story teller.
Frank McCourt continues the narrative of his life begun with "Angela's Ashes." His reading of the book adds a whole new dimension to the printed page, as he mimics the voices and accents of the people he quotes and adopts a slightly bemused and detached tone to some of the darker passages, giving a greater complexity of meaning.
The last quarter of the book reads more like an epilogue. The stories become more fragmented, the character descriptions more circumspect and less insightful. All in all, however, I found the book a good read and difficult to put down. It was almost as good as "Angela's Ashes."
'Tis is the final chapter of a story begun with Angela's Ashes. In this book Frank McCourt, like many of us, struggled with much of the banality of life. This seemed so more evident in 'Tis than in Angela's Ashes. 'Tis lacks the vivid imagery, the depths of pathos and the unmitigated joy and anticipation of childhood dreams unfulfilled. But McCourt's lilting Irish voice is still there adding to 'Tis that same quality of intimacy and authenticity. By much of 'Tis, McCourt has overcome the real impediments in his life. It doesn't matter that not as much happens in 'Tis. He has made it back to America, after all. (In how many cases do our adult lives measure up to our childhood fantacies, anyway?) 'Tis is the needed punctuation to complete his story. McCourt's often inability to know what to do is only obvious to us because we are viewing from the outside with the benefit of his 20/20 hindsight. If most of us did what McCourt did and penned our own lives as openly and honestly, we would see that in this sense Frank McCourt is truly Everyman.
It is a book that affirms the beauty of being human with all its dreams, hopes, banalities, failures and successes.
I listened to 'Tis straight through and couldn't wait to get Teacher Man loaded on my Ipod. Frank McCourt has such a way of saying the truth about everything. He says things other people wish they could say. He keeps things simple, real and funny. And that's the way life should be.
Usually happy customer
McCourt is an excellent storyteller. Admirable, not too dramatic. You'd love his natural, unexaggerated Irish accent, and his picuresque metaphors. Human and humorous.
The previous review by Philip of Ft. Worth Texas shows that the man didn't even read the book. Frank McCourt didn't drown in the bottle. If he did, he wouldn't have been writing the most wonderful memoirs of his life. Frank McCourt rules when it comes to narration. Frank Mccourt can teach us all a thing or two about life. LISTEN TO HIS BOOKS!! There are no better. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
I am done with Frank McCourt! Yes, I know this is book 2 of 3 but I listened to Teacher Man first. And I'm glad I did because while I did enjoy this book, I don't know that I would have gone on to a third book after this one.
So Frank has made it to New York. Thanks to a creepy priest he met on board the ship, he gets a job at a hotel, cleaning. He wants more but with his bad eyes and his lack of a high school diploma he isn't likely to get anywhere. So while his friends are trying to avoid getting drafted to Korea, he signs up. The army fixes his teeth and does what it can for his eyes, and send him off to Germany and he trains to be a clerk where he learned typing and organization. Back in America he talks NYU into letting him attend conditionally, given his lack of a high school education. Unbeknownst to him he's in the education school, but that's okay. He meets cute girls and is baffled by the young, privileged teens he's in school with who discuss Camus and drink coffee while he works on the docks in warehouses.
Naturally life goes on and he does eventually get a teaching job and marry and has a daughter. But after he's done with school, I didn't like the style of the book as much. It lost its narrative thread and instead the chapters towards the end felt more like essays, like they should be titled things like "Our buddy Frank" and "My new job at Stuyvesant High School." After all the nuanced detail we've gotten of his entire life up to here, it's disappointing to not know much about why his marriage broke up, or even be able to figure out exactly what year it is and how old he is. The essays jump around a bit and so in one his daughter will be 10 and in the next, he's talking about changing her diaper. It was good to get closure with his parents' lives. But I was a little disappointed at the end with the structure.
That said, it was still wonderful. As always, I really loved that Frank McCourt narrated it himself. Many parts were hilariously funny that I don't think would translate as quite as humorous in print. It ended abruptly without even a second separating McCourt's last word from Audible's tagline but that's a minor detail and Audible's issue, not McCourt's. 'Tis is an appropriate follow-up that finishes up the stories begun in Angela's Ashes.
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