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Extended Audio Sample Angelas Ashes, by Frank McCourt Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (210,293 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Frank McCourt Narrator: Frank McCourt Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Angela's Ashes is a memoir written by Frank McCourt. The author also narrates this unabridged audio version. Pulitzer Prize winner for Autobiography, Angela's Ashes tells a saga spanning an ocean. Though some think of this book as sorrowful, many who have heard McCourt tell his story can hear the joy he felt over the smallest victory of finding a meal and can understand the sense of humor that he developed in order to bear these blows of life. This is thought of as a classic in memoir literature, and was adapted for a film. Living in poverty as a child, McCourt reveals those days into his adult years in the cities of Limerick, Ireland and Brooklyn, New York. He struggled with his father's alcoholism and with his mother's rescuing nature, which preserved their family unit for a time.

He was born in the thirties in New York to Irish immigrants, and later returned with them to the desolate slumhouses of Limerick, Ireland. The name Angela is his mother's, and she scrounged with what little money she had left over from his father's alcohol binges. His dad didn't work much in the first place. Though sometimes Frank had to wear soles on his shoe from rubber of a tire, and though sometimes he had to beg for pork head for holiday meals, and though he had to look for his dad in pubs, he is still able to tell us these stories with hope, grace, and humanity.

Frank McCourt was a teacher for years, and originally got himself into college without a high school degree by talking his way into New York University and promising to maintain an average grade of a B+. He died from cancer in 2009.

"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. 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 does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story.

Perhaps it is a story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner, and searching the pubs for his father, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.

Imbued with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion -- and movingly read in his own voice -- Angela's Ashes is a glorious audiobook that bears all the marks of a classic.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The reader of this stunning memoir can only hope that Mr. McCourt will set down the story of his subsequent adventures in America in another book. Angela’s Ashes is so good it deserves a sequel.” 

    New York Times

  • “It is only the best storyteller who can so beguile his readers that he leaves them wanting more when he’s done. With Angela’s Ashes, McCourt proves himself one of the very best.”

    Newsweek

  • “A splendid memoir, both funny and forgiving.” 

    People

  • “A spellbinding memoir of childhood that swerves flawlessly between aching sadness and desperate humor...A work of lasting beauty.” 

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • Pulitzer Prize winner
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of the 1996 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography/Autobiography
  • Winner of the 1996 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography
  • An American Bookseller Association Book of the Year in 1997
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A New York Times Best Book for Nonfiction in 1996
  • An ALA Notable Book Nonfiction Finalist
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Pepper Snyder | 2/18/2014

    " This is my all time favorite book. It made me laugh and cry and parts of it reminded me so much of my own family. The humor in it is not for everyone but, in my opinion, the humor (though mostly a depressing humor) was the best part of the book. Loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Stephanielle Landers | 2/8/2014

    " This book is among my favorites and a definite must-read. I could see myself re-reading it several times. It is written from the perspective of a small child but is in no way simplistic--descriptions are wonderfully nuanced and enlightening, even as the character speaks in his childlike voice. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to gain insight into what poverty is truly like, as what you take away from it rings true in all countries and epochs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Janet Aguirre | 1/28/2014

    " Amazing book..I love the way he wrote it from a boys point of view ..so descriptive and clever "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Julie Losey o'hara | 1/26/2014

    " read again. absolutly beautiful and heartbreaking. "

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