Frank McCourt: The Man Himself

Frank McCourt: The Man Himself

When Frank McCourt passed in 2009, he left behind memoirs filled with anguish, love, and dark merriment. Personal experiences are what this Irish-American author took and shaped into works of sorrowful beauty.

Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
When Frank's parents took their growing family back to their native Ireland in the 1930s, they hoped for a better life. What they found was a grinding poverty made more miserable by the father's alcoholism and the mother's debilitating depression. Wretched as this book should be—and in many parts, is—the author's cleverness and spiritual clarity give the book a lilting continuance that draws the reader into a surprisingly warm-hearted story.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

'Tis: A Memoir
Frank has now made it back across the Atlantic Ocean, an immigrant as his parents were before him. An Irish-born bartender sends him off to the New York Public Library for some education. Now it's Frank's turn to make a go of his life, and he narrates his encounters with army life, brotherly drinking bouts, Beatniks, and McCarthyism, a teaching career, and love with an Episcopalian—all the while taking care of his mother, Angela.

Teacher Man: A Memoir
In the last of the series, Frank McCourt finds himself teetering between success and disaster as a New York City school teacher. With a rogue wit, the Irish rebel recounts thirty years of lessons learned and how remembering his own difficult past in the Limerick slums led him to be a better instructor.

Angela and the Baby Jesus
"Usually little Angela would want to be right in the middle of the action as the family sits by the fire and talks. But not this time—she has a secret upstairs."
In McCourt's family story for all ages, six-year-old Angela feels sorry for the Baby Jesus—surely cold in the church's nativity display—so she has quietly taken him home.

Photo Credit: 
Frank McCourt 2006 by Elke Wetzig (Elya) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons