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Angela's Ashes

Angela's Ashes
reviewed by Greta Christina

I liked this a lot better than I thought I was going to. I was expecting your usual sad Irish treacle, with the saintly long-suffering mother and the useless drunken father and the hordes of starving-but-scrappy children, deeply depressing but with an uplifting twinkle that's somehow even more depressing than the depressing stuff. But this is better than that. More complicated, more three-dimensional, more generally interesting. It gets at some actual reality behind the treacley stereotypes -- the frayed bitchiness of the long-suffering mother, the trapped-rabbit despair of the drunken father, the bludgeoned fragility of the scrappy kids. And it gets under the skin of poverty in a way that's very hard to do. It's not perfect (it does have a tendency to drift into depressing treacle at times), but it's well worth a look.

Copyright 2000 Greta Christina. Originally published in San Francisco Frontiers.


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