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Frank McCourt Books In Order

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Publication Order of Memoirs Books

Publication Order of Picture Books

Angela and the Baby Jesus / Angela's Christmas (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Plays

A Couple of Blaguards (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir(1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Yeats is Dead!(2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dedicated to the People of Darfur(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
From the Republic of Conscience(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Frank McCourt is a memoir and biography author of Irish and American extraction best known for his “Frank McCourt Memoirs.” The author was born in Brooklyn, New York to an Irish immigrant father and Angel his mother from the south west Ireland slums of Limerick. Since his parents met during the depression, life was hard for the family and McCourt father’s alcoholism and tragic death did to help matters. The family moved to Ireland in 1934 and settled in Limerick as they hoped Angela’s family would help set them up. Finding Limerick was no different, McCourt’s father resorted to drinking and the family soon found themselves living on one of the worst rat infested and regularly flooded tenement on Roden Street. While his father sent a little money from England where he had gone to find paid work, the flow soon stopped and his father dropped out of their lives. The family is thus left in the care of the mother who had to combine charitable handouts, great ingenuity and a scrupulous economy to feed her children.

In 1943, McCourt was forced to quit school to help his mother take care of his siblings. He did all manner of errands from telegram delivery boy, rent collector and assistant in at a grocery. In 1949, he hopped across the pond returning to the US, where he worked as a houseman at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City. When the Korean War broke out, he was drafted and in the army he learned how to type and his education truly began. Three years later, he was discharged and thanks to the GI bill, he graduated with a degree in education and English. He then started teaching criminals, teenage mechanics, gang members, beauticians and future taxi drivers in a school on Staten Island. It was a tough experience as most of his charges were not interested in learning but he made it work. He would usually tell them stories about his life in Ireland and this they found interesting. Outside the classroom, he spent time at a bar named Malachy’s Bar that was run by his brother in Greenwich Village. It was during this time that he met and married his wife Alberta that he stayed with for more than a decade.

In 1970, McCourt went back to Dublin and attended Trinity College Dublin where he studied unsuccessfully for his master’s degree. Five years later, he was back in New York City teaching high school at Stuyvesant high school. It was a dilapidated school with corridors that smelled or rotten eggs. The students were inner city kids most of whom would rather have been doing anything than be in school. During this time, he had some minor successes getting his work published in a variety of magazines. One of his biggest breakthroughs was the writing of “A Coupe of Blaguards,” a stage show he wrote alongside his brother Malachy. He stopped teaching in 1989 as he needed time to figure out a voice to tell the stories of his childhood and youth living in Europe. With more time than he knew what to do with, he soon realized that what he wanted to write was a memoir rather than a novel. It took him just over a year to publish “Angela’s Ashes’ which came out in 1996. The memoir became a bestseller won several awards and translated into more than two and half dozen languages.
“Angela’s Ashes,” the first novel by Frank McCourt is a story full of compassion and humor that comes with all the hallmarks of a classic work. He tells of his miserable childhood in Ireland and wonders just how he managed to survive it all right from the first page of the memoir. The Pulitzer prize winning memoir starts off telling of his birth in Brooklyn during the Great Depression when it was the worst time to be an Irish immigrant. He then grew up in Ireland in the Limerick slums where they had to depend on their mother for sustenance as his father Malachy rarely worked and drank all their savings away. However, the beguiling, irresponsible and exasperating Malachy nurtures in Frank the love for stories. He is great lover of Chuchulain the mythical figure that saved Ireland and oftens tells the story to his children. Perhaps it is story that helped him survive the tough times when he had to gather coal from the roadside for heating, beg for a pig’s head that they would eat for Christmas and wear rags for diapers.

“‘Tis” by Frank McCourt is the sequel to his debut novel that picks up form where the first novel left off. It is set in the United States where Frank is back in New York where he was born. He is an awkward 19 year old boy with bad teeth, sore eyes and a pimply face. He is very much unlike any of the self assured and healthy students he meets on the subway and he dreams of going to college. In the early days, he has weeks so bad that they parallel what he experienced growing up poor in the uk. McCourt views the US with similar perspectives to those he had of Ireland. Casual cruelty, race prejudice and dead end jobs are things he needs to deal with just to get a footing. Things improve when he gets drafted into the army where he gets the chance to acquire some skills after which he goes on to attend college at New York University. But his journey to becoming a creative writing teacher at Stuyvesant High school is neither easy nor quick. Luckily, his openness allows him to have a variety of experiences which harden his resolve to make it in America.

Frank McCourt’s “Teacher Man” tells of how his teaching career would ultimately lead to him becoming an author. The memoir is a tribute to persons who walk into classrooms everywhere to impart knowledge into impressionable young minds. In heartbreaking honesty and irreverent wit he records the surprises, triumphs and trials he had to face while teaching at inner city schools in New York. He makes use of unconventional methods and offer imaginative assignments to his students that leave a lasting impact on them. But nonetheless, finding his way around the classroom is not easy and he spends many of his evenings dreaming of writing his story and drinking with journalists at his brother’s bar. The novel shows the author developing his unique ability to tell great stories that get the respect and attention of indifferent and hormonally charged teens. His failed quest to get a doctorate, his frequent pink slips and rocky marriage lead him to one of the best places to work and this finally results in him finding his voice.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Frank McCourt

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