Las cenizas de Ángela

488 pages

Spanish language

Published Aug. 14, 1998


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4 stars (5 reviews)

"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. in the 1930s and 40s. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy -- exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling -- does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother …

38 editions

Could've been interesting, but I don't know.

1 star

First, as a memoir, I always take the stories with a grain of salt, especially when they include 'memories' prior to the years where most people are likely to remember more than general feelings. Perhaps it's largely because I can't remember events clearly prior to 10 years of age, so I'm not inclined to believe someone really remembers what happened when they're 4 or 5 years old.

Second, once he got to puberty and started talking about wanking everywhere, I sort of got bored. "I wanked in a park! On a castle! On a wall! Near a cow! Next to my uncle who was dropped on his head as a child!" It was sort of boring to read passages about boys talking only about wanking, how all they could do was wank, how they'd shirk their work and go wank in the bathroom to scantily clad women in magazines, etc. …

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5 stars
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4 stars