Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
Innocence was never this hilarious

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was like a part of some review on the backflap promised it to be: you can open it up on any page and find yourself drawn into the story.

The writing style was a little hard to get into for me at first. I think it took about 50 pages to get used to it and another 50 pages to start appreciating it. In fact, to start loving it. I got so hooked on it that there was no easily defined moment to stop, which is why I had to force myself to do so every time it was way too late for me to be reading.

The poverty described in this book was absolutely horrid. The McCourts had a roof above their heads, but that was basically the only thing that distinguished them from the homeless beggars on the streets. The possibility of starving to death in your own home, because there's no money left for food is a thought that didn't really occur to me that often before and it's just shocking to read about it, especially because the story takes place in a developed country approximately 75 years ago.
My own parents were small children back then and of course, it wasn't a feast of luxuries, especially with the war going on (which apparently paradoxically improved things for the Irish working class). My grandparents also queued up in the lines of people holding on to foodstamps, but still, it never came close to the extremities described in this book.

That being said, with all the illnesses, deaths, heartbreak, hunger and injustice mentioned, it NEVER gets truly sad. In fact, most of the time, it's downright hilarious. Which is why this reminded me a lot of Charles Dickens' work. Horrible circumstances yet still, you can't stop chuckling. It's also why I had to often remind myself even more that this story takes place in the 20th century instead of the 19th and that, while it reads like fiction, it is most certainly not (not that I'm saying Dickens' work is always pure fiction; a lot of his stories were based on his personal history of growing up).

Had this story been told from the perspective of an adult, it would've most likely been very depressing. However, seeing everything through the eyes of an innocent child gives you a whole different look at things. It's the main reason why the horrid things that happened turned into something funny. Take the death of a loved one that would've been heartbreaking if told by an adult; told by a child it can be a joyful experience because there's going to be sympathy, which leads to money, which then means being able to go to the cinema and eating sweets.

I can recommend this book to anyone really. I know I'm most definitely going to read the sequel [b:'Tis|4912|'Tis (Frank McCourt, #2)|Frank McCourt||1779262] to it some day.