It's a two-fer this week on Friday Favorites! In honor of Frank McCourt, who recently passed away, I wanted to talk about "Angela's Ashes," McCourt's Pulitzer-prize winning memoir of his life growing up in Limerick, Ireland. I recently wrote that this is one of my all-time favorites. The McCourts had emigrated to the U.S. but returned to Ireland after Frank's sister died. Things progressively got worse for the family. McCourt's anger with the Catholic church, his father, poverty, and even his mother (Angela, for whom the book is titled) is evident throughout the book. But he writes without sounding bitter and is even able to find forgiveness. The story is written with a lot of humour, despite the bleakness of the family's day-to-day reality.
A book that's much less on the public's radar (but certainly deserves to be better known) is "The Invisible Wall" by Harry Bernstein, who wrote that book (and it's sequel) when he was in his 90's. Bernstein also grew up in abject poverty and was also the son of an alcoholic father. But Harry was Jewish and lived on a street, in an English mining town, with an invisible wall down the center of it. On one side of the street lived the Jewish families and one the other side were the Christian families. Although there were actually things that each side needed the other for, there was as little intermingling as possible. Then Harry's sister did the unthinkable--she fell in love with a Christian boy, sparking both a family and neighborhood crisis. Although Harry does not tell his story with the wit of McCourt, the story is told with eloquence and draws the reader in. Average rating for this one is 4.5/5 stars amongs the reader reviews on Barnes & Noble's web site.
Thanks to Alyce from At Home With Books for introducing me to the idea of My Favorite Reads!