I should preface this by saying, when this book was lent to me by a friend I had never read any of his books. I knew the name, I knew about Angela’s Ashes but Frank McCourt had always seemed to remain in the periphery of my reading life. I knew he had written one book, and it had gained such critical acclaim it became a movie which also gained critical acclaim but I still never picked it up.
When I asked around I was told I didn’t truly need to read either Angela’s Ashes or ‘Tis before I read this book and assured by my friends and fellow GoodReads bookclubbers I embarked on this literary journey.
Frank McCourt certainly has a distinct voice when it comes to his writing and his discussions of his life. It is also a distinctly Irish voice, self-deprecating, often filled with foul language but not without a touch of humour, and yes, good Catholic guilt. He reminds me of a teacher I once knew in college in that aspect.
In other aspects he reminds me of teachers I have known throughout my life. Both real and not real, the Mr Feeny’s who bled into real life voices of English teachers frustrated when I wouldn’t read, to frustrated when I just wouldn’t stop reading things outside of the course material. Teachers who would discuss my potential in bold. After all she has “potential” but she just doesn’t “utilize her skills.”
Yet he cared, he cared about his students, and those cares, those concerns were written about in this book just as I’m sure he felt them every day. Amusingly enough though, he admits he didn’t know how to teach, and those are the moments i truly appreciated it, as he faked it until he could make it.
This book is so wonderfully written, and it’s definitely good for anyone who ever had that teacher, the teacher who cared and left an impression on your, or if you have ever wanted to be that teacher. Or if you ever floundered in your found profession.