Frank McCourt was not only an amazing author, he was an amazing man and human being altogether. While I was reading the trilogy (I guess you could consider it a trilogy of memoirs), I knew what I was going to say about his books. He was incredibly intelligent, and his writing was unique. (His way of not using quotation marks gives his stories a certain special quality.) What happened to him in his life is sad and remarkable at the same time. I knew what I was going to say, I just knew it. Although I seem like I know what to say and where to say it in this review...my mind is actually blank. My sweaty palms and rapidly beating heart is the only proof I have that I actually read the books. I have no words...I only have feelings and emotions.
But I'll power on. I will come up with a good enough book review for this "trilogy" to convince you to read them. I can't guarantee you'll feel as I did once you finish the third book, Teacher Man, but please try. Don't live your life without reading Angela's Ashes, 'Tis, and Teacher Man.
With that being said, I've decided to start this review with the author, not his books.
Frank McCourt grew up being self-conscious and was always concerned about people thinking less of him. Through his books, I felt that it was his goal in life to make an impression on people and change the world (which he did in part through teaching). In Angela's Ashes, we meet Frank, who grew up in Ireland, after leaving New York, his birthplace, when he was four or five. He and his family were incredibly poor, and always tried to make the best of what they had. Frank grew up, took horrible jobs and saved money with the hope that one day he'd leave his home and go back to New York. This is where we start the second book, 'Tis. We follow Frank as he grows up into adulthood. Teacher Man is the third book, and where Frank tells his readers (anyone who'll listen) about his teaching career, the kids (and adults) he has taught, his life after Ireland, and what life has in store for him next.
Now, I'm incredibly sad and regretful to tell all of you that Frank McCourt passed away five years ago from cancer. My mom informed me of this just as I was reading Angela's Ashes.
I've read many books where the author has passed and in some cases, JUST passed, but none have affected me as much as Frank McCourt's death. I finished Teacher Man, and as soon as I read the last line, I burst into tears. At 2:30 am. It made me beyond sad to know that Frank McCourt will never write about his life ever again. This man deserved thirty plus more years than he received and it is completely unfair.
But as I sit here now and think (yes, my review is finally coming together!) I realize that this is what he would want. He would want people to connect with his story and read about his life, maybe hoping that somehow his story would change people for the better and that they could also make a difference in the world.
Angela's Ashes has always been talked about. Everyone says that it's wonderful and it makes them cry. And I know that you might have the urge to say, "Oh, yes, I'll put it on my To Be Read list!" and never truly read it. For some, Angela's Ashes will always be on their To Read pile, shelf, or both.
So, as The Literary Connoisseur, I'm telling you this now: Read Angela's Ashes, read up on Frank McCourt, and don't give up until you've finished 'Tis and Teacher Man. Even if it doesn't affect you like it did me, read it for Frank's sake. His story must be told.