Frank McCourt passed away today at the age of 78 from melanoma. He is the author of Angela's Ashes....a biography of his Irish Catholic poverty stricken childhood until his immigration to America as a young adult. It's a great book in that it's well written and makes you think and think and think. They made a movie a few years ago based on the book. If you haven't seen the movie or read the book....read the book.
This book should be a must-read for every American teenager. Or any of you who haven't read it yet. You will see your blessings in a whole new light and your troubles will seem minor.
I read this book in December '99. We had just moved to our new house in the spring of '99 and not knowing many people, I spent alot of time reading. A week or two later, Chuck and I were attending a New Year's Eve party at a neighbor's home and I overheard a couple of women discussing it. I was so excited to hear someone discussing it that I butted right into their conversation. The women were in a book club and that was the book they had just read....but were discussing at the next meeting. I got invited and am still in the book club 10 years later. (Shout out to my book club women....I love you.)
I read always....meaning I always have a book on my nightstand. But not all books are worthy of discussion. However, it has been a wonderful thing to be a part of a book club so that I can discuss a book if I'm not ready to let go of it yet. You know that feeling? You've spent time with the characters and the places and their dilemma and then the book is over. But you still need to talk about it before you put it away in your brain.
And speaking of putting it away in my brain... I call it flushing. I read a book. Then flush it. Not literally....but figuratively in my brain. Usually by the time book club rolls around, I have all but forgotten main characters and situations. It was either a good read or a so-so read and then I'm on to the next one.
But Angela's Ashes? It was a good one. While I've long forgotten the names in the book or the details of the situations, I remember the feeling I was left with. I was so sad for this little boy. But so empowered by his ability to reach down in that squalor and poverty, grab his boot straps (intelligence, humor, strong will) and get the heck out of there so as not to repeat his father's mistakes. And his goal? Was to get to America. To the land of opportunity. Something I supsect we natives take for granted.
I'm not saying it is a "feel good" book.....I am saying it is a book that will leave you with feeling.
Frank McCourt....may you rest in peace and know you left a piece of you here for eternity.