Frank's life from birth to age 19
Frank's life from age 19 to age 40 in New York
Frank's summary of his life as a high school teacher
That's what Frank McCourt tries to teach us in his trio of memoirs: the pathway from fear to freedom--of expression, or just of being. Of simply trying.
Last Friday I decided to read Angela's Ashes (1996). The next morning I fought my way to the Columbus Public Libraary through a raging snowstorm and checked out 'Tis (1999)and Teacher Man (2005) and read those, too. By Sunday night my eyes felt like two raisins in my head. Gettin' old's a bitch.
In Angela's Ashes, little Frankie is tormented everywhere he turns by two equally criminal forces, poverty and the Catholic Church. I laughed out loud when he received his first communion and the wafer got stuck on the roof of his mouth. If you're Catholic, you've been there. Frankie hadn't yet, and all he could think of was What kind of sin was this to have God stuck to the roof of your mouth?! He couldn't even receive communion right! Damned for all eternity, as far as he was concerned. And I thought I had Catholic guilt. Not even close.
Throughout all the books, he quotes his aunt's husband, whose favorite saying was "I don't give a fiddler's fart." I'm not sure that's the overall theme Mr. McCourt wanted me to leave his books with, but it has stuck to my brain like that wafer stuck to his palate, and there is nothing I can do about it.
I checked and, of course, they've made a movie of Angela's Ashes. It is on its way from Netflix. Clive Owen probably has better things to do than spend every night at my place, anyway. (Though I can't imagine what.)