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Author and raconteur Frank McCourt, in his autobiography, “has examined his ferocious childhood, walked around it, relived it, and with skill and care and generosity of heart, transformed it into a triumphant work of art,” writes Pete Hamill.
Frank McCourt has written a triumphant book. His memoir of an Irish childhood is in turns hilarious, heart-scalding, bitterly angry. It takes us through a world of daily, repetitive, cyclical horror in “the lanes” of Limerick in the 1930s and 1940s, providing the sort of soul-murdering detail that no survivor can ever forget. But McCourt’s soul was not murdered. This book is the proof of his survival. This book, this affirmation of humane values in the face of all odds, is his triumph.
“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all,” he writes on the first page. “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.”