Mark 1 star 5/24/12
Couldn’t bear it. Whiney, self-obsessed and smacked of disingenuity. Using misery, either yours (imagined) or others (purloined) to make money seems to be the height/depth of cheap shots. Someone once told me of a review of the book that they had read somewhere
‘Baby born, baby died, baby born, baby died, baby born, baby died, baby born, baby died; it rained’.
Admittedly there was more to it than that, however I read it a long time ago and the gloom of the misery and rain hangs still over the whole thing in a ridiculously hyperbolic manner. The father, an irresponsible drunken wastrel I just wanted to hit about the head quite dramatically with anything I could lay my hands on and the mother, an horrendous slatterny doormat, I found massively unsympathetic . I can only think of one character who i warmed to and as i remember she was dying of something or other.
This is not using misery to make money. This is explaining the misery he felt in his childhood, it happened to make him money. Art is created from strong human emotions, sometimes those emotions are negative or in this case miserable. Some of the best art in the world has come from the misery people have experienced. So should holocaust survivors not chronicle their miserable experiences in case they happen to make money from it? The parents were clearly a mess. But could you not sympathize with them as deeply flawed humans?
David 7/15/-7 1 star
No native Irish reader, myself included, has anything but the deepest contempt for this particular exercise in literary prostitution and the cynical weasel responsible for it.
Cool, way to speak for every native Irish reader. I’m sure they love it when you feel important enough to voice your extremely important opinion and make it theirs as well. Maybe you felt the need to do that because you don’t feel confident enough in your own thoughts you need to put a fictional army behind you just in case.
Kinza 12/25/14 1 star
The saddest little pile of crap I’ve read in recent times. I’m sorry all these terrible events occurred, but really, how long are we going to milk the past? I suppose I welcomed myself to the misery by choosing to continue reading. Regardless, pity party does not equate to memoir. What. A. Drag.
This is not a pity party, this is the account of his childhood. There were lots of moments of happiness in there as well people just focus on the despair and it makes them uncomfortable and they ignore the happiness that can be found there as well.
Rachel 3/3/10 1 star
If you want to read about an extremely miserable childhood, this one’s for you. Occationally I laughed, but for the most part I was waiting for something good to happen. It never really did. I know this is a true story, but it was entirely too sad without even a real uplifting ending. I guess I just don’t like reading about other people’s misery. I read to laugh, learn, and be entertained.
Sigh, I get it; it’s not uplifting. But you admitted to laughing and then said you didn’t like it because you read to laugh and learn…Also did you not learn anything from this? HOW?! How is it possible to read a book and not learn anything? Unless you did learn something. So you learned and laughed which are 2 of your 3 requirements so you should be set. You’re welcome for figuring that out for you, I’m here to help.
Laura 9/3/13 1 star
Utterly tedious. I pushed through expecting it to get better because everyone seemed so impressed by it, but I fail to see how an account of nothing but years of misery and poverty is entertaining or enlightening. Mr. McCourt’s early life was clearly awful, but why he felt the need to inflict it upon the rest of us is beyond me.
He did not feel the need to inflict it on the rest of us. He felt the need to write about his childhood and if you chose to read it, that’s on you. Not all books have to be entertaining or enlightening, but if someone else making something pretty cool of his life after being subjected to all that misery is not enlightening to you…well then…you’re basic.
Morgan 4/14/14 1 star
This book was extremely depressing and reading it made me upset. I had to read this book for school and if I didn’t have to read it than I would’ve stopped mid way through the book. His humor made me feel uncomfortable and I didn’t like how he tried to make an extremely awful situation humorous. Some situations are to depressing to shine some light onto them and it made him sound like his situation was a joke. I understand that this being a personal story and about his life, he would want to not have people pity him and by doing that he tried making it humorous. I think that society wouldn’t accept this book very well because it’s extremely sad. Not everyone would like this type of book because they often want books that cheer them up.
Ok, society already accepted this book. People tend to want books that make them feel something; anything, it doesn’t always have to be cheerful. As far as making an extremely awful situation humorous; that is what humor is for, to make the hard things in life seem less hard. Would you rather he wallowed in it? There is NO situation too depressing to not be able to laugh about it.
Kathy 12/4/08 2 stars
I would have rated this book much higher, had it not been for
a) the language, which fit the book and reflected Frank’s upbringing, but I don’t like those words running through my head….definitely not a read-aloud.
b) some of the “scenes” in the book… also things I didn’t need to have run through my head. Although Frank is raised a Catholic and attends Mass…those standards are not necessarily reflected in his actions.
Ok Kathy, he grew up in poverty you and I will never understand, do you think maybe he can get a pass on swearing occasionally? You seem to be a bit sheltered so I guess some swearing and sex might be a bit much to handle.