Saturday, July 25, 2009

RIP Frank McCourt

As most of you probably know, Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes, Tis and Teacher Man, died of cancer on July 19. Angela's Ashes, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is absolutely one of the best memoirs ever written (in my humble opinion). If by some twist of fate, you haven't read it yet, now is the time. I've decided to reread it after listening to McCourt in an old interview on Fresh Air the other day. His descriptions of his miserable Catholic childhood in Limerick, Ireland are unbelievably depressing, but in a hysterically funny way. Not many writers can pull that off. It must have been that sense of humor that got him through growing up destitute with an alcoholic father and being forced to attend the local Catholic school where the priests practiced a unique brand of cruelty they crafted specifically for errant, impressionable young lads.

Teacher Man is also an excellent read. It recounts his years teaching at Stuyvesant High School in New York City and oozes that same sense of joy and wonderment that evades Angela's Ashes. The tales he tells about his students will have career teachers nodding their heads, like "Yeah, I've seen that before...", and non-teachers thinking, "No way. I can't believe they tried to get away with that."

Whichever book you choose to read, for the first time or for the fifth time, let's try and keep his his stories alive and remember him for the remarkable human being he was.


  1. Hey love the blog!
    Check out the award I gave you

  2. I was channel surfing one afternoon and ran across Angela's Ashes showing on Public Television. It made me think about Mr. McCourt and what his writing meant to me.
    I am excited about finding your blog as it is, very well written.
    Thanks for your words.


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