'Tis by Frank McCourt

As the second installment in Irish Catholic Frank McCourt's moving memoir series, 'Tis is the portrayal of a young man trying to find his place in a world ready to eat him up. His first book, Angela's Ashes, details his early childhood in the slums of Limerick, Ireland and 'Tis picks up in the fall of 1949 as he is finally making his way to America. What follows is a wry, hilarious and often heartbreaking deception of his struggles to make his way through a foreign country to find a job, education and even love. McCourt finds his start in America at seemingly dead-end jobs even as he dreams of one day becoming a college student like those he sees on the subway with their books and superior attitudes. After spending time in the army, he is finally admitted to New York University even without a high school diploma but is constantly fearful of being looked down upon due to his lack of education. After finally obtaining a teaching post, McCourt depicts the farce that is the American educational system as he battles with students and administrators until he is able to teach a creative writing class at a respectable high school.

Frank McCourt is a masterful writer. I think part of what makes him so dang good is his unusual lack of punctuation. No quotation marks and hardly any commas or periods either. I'd often read half a page before I realized it was all one sentence. This style made everything seem more immediate and more often than not, I'd feel myself right there with him during the war, at a job, or in his classroom. On top of that, his honesty is what really sets his narrative apart. McCourt cuts no corners and doesn't shy away from the truth, even if it is embarrassing or damaging to himself.

The Hubby and I listened to Angela's Ashes read by the author himself and since then I can't but help hear his unforgettable, almost simplistic voice in my head as I read 'Tis. His story is so poignant, so honest that it and the emotions they raise so fresh - it all stays with you long after you finish, truly making his books absolutely unforgettable.

reading order:
~ Angela's Ashes
~ 'Tis
~ Teacher Man

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