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    Week 2 Essay Winner

    Angela’s Ashes:  A Phoenix Among Books

    Submitted by:  Sheryl Pimentel 

    “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt left a handprint on my heart.  It is an unforgettable tale of an impoverished Irish Catholic childhood spent in the Limerick slums.   Never has a book moved this avid reader so deeply.


    Eating a tasty meal and contently sleeping in a comfortable bed are things I could no longer take for granted after reading “Angela’s Ashes.”  Oh how I wished to feed the McCourt children until their concaved bellies and hollow cheeks swelled with nourishment.  McCourt’s writing was so clear and soulful, I felt one with the book – as if I lived in that squalor-filled apartment, too.


    McCourt effortlessly transported the reader back to his home in Ireland.  It is a journey filled with tragedy and depravation, but McCourt’s underlying humor drives the reader to hope that little Frankie will indeed find the Irish luck he so desperately needs.


    No comfort is to be found in the church that governs their lives or a mother that is distracted with her own demons.  It is the art of storytelling that is Frank’s only salvation and probably the reason why he is such a powerful writer today.  His mostly absent alcoholic father filled the boy’s mind with glorious tales of Ireland’s heroes of the past.  It was Frank’s escape from his dreary life, if for just precious moments.


    As Frank McCourt finally sailed away to America, my hopes for a better life for him were a passenger, too.  He could not write the sequel – “Tis”- fast enough for my liking!   My appetite for more McCourt tales wasn’t sated.  I happily discovered brother Malachy is an author, as well.  I read “A Monk Swimming,”, and at first opportunity, will purchase Malachy’s sequel “Singing My Him Song.”


    I grew up in an isolated area where reading was my family’s passion, and it still is today.  They were thrilled when I gave them “Angela’s Ashes” for Christmas one year. Later, my siblings took turns reading my copy of “Tis”.   I glance at my beloved McCourt books hugging one another on my bursting bookshelf.  It warms my heart to know their story affected my family and in some ways, brought us closer as we shared our thoughts on the McCourt’s’ plight. 


    Like little Frankie, I am hungry, too.  I am craving to read more of the McCourt family saga and visit Ireland.   Sadly, Frank McCourt recently passed away but his legacy lives on.


    Rest in peace, Frank McCourt.




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    One Response to “Week 2 Essay Winner”

    1. Sheryl says:

      Thank you for naming me this week’s winner! I am humbled and honored!

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