And now we have 'Tis, the story of Frank's American journey from impoverished immigrant to brilliant teacher and raconteur. Frank lands in New York at age nineteen, in the company of a priest he meets on the boat. He gets a job at the Biltmore Hotel, where he immediately encounters the vivid hierarchies of this "classless country," and then is drafted into the army and is sent to Germany to train dogs and type reports. It is Frank's incomparable voice -- his uncanny humor and his astonishing ear for dialogue -- that renders these experiences spellbinding.
When Frank returns to America in 1953, he works on the docks, always resisting what everyone tells him, that men and women who have dreamed and toiled for years to get to America should "stick to their own kind" once they arrive. Somehow, Frank knows that he should be getting an education, and though he left school at fourteen, he talks his way into New York University. There, he falls in love with the quintessential Yankee, long-legged and blonde, and tries to live his dream. But it is not until he starts to teach -- and to write -- that Frank finds his place in the world. The same vulnerable but invincible spirit that captured the hearts of readers in Angela's Ashes comes of age.
As Malcolm Jones said in his Newsweek review of Angela's Ashes, "It is only the best storyteller who can so beguile his readers that he leaves them wanting more when he is done...and McCourt proves himself one of the very best." Frank McCourt's 'Tis is one of the most eagerly awaited books of our time, and it is a masterpiece.
I read "Teacher Man" first and followed it with "Angela's Ashes" and " 'Tis". " 'Tis" was the best for me and now I feel compelled to re-read "Teacher Man" with a new understanding of Frank's earlier life. I will be buying "Angela's Ashes" for Xmas presents this year....Continua
When the ignorance is gone, one has two choices -- let the emotions die, or save them for the best. The latter was what Frank McCourt chose. Never say never when you're still alive.
It is an immigration story. After suffering from a "miserable Irish Catholic childhood" detailed in his first memoir -- Angela's Ashes, the first 23 chapters of 'Tis saw him continue his wandering in America & Germany, having zero ideas what destiny was going to bring him.
With the help of the GI Bill, he went straight to university and went on to become the only English teacher in NY without a high school education (and won the teacher of the year in 1976).
The whole book was a big complaint to the harsh reality. For certain there are always someone yelling out "don't whine" and "this guy is just another crybaby", but to me, it does more good than harm to cry when there's something real to cry about. This late bloomer deserves his wild success.
Major topics include education, history, sex, relationship with parents; a diverse spectrum of crazy lunatics can also be found.
All in all, it's a fine book with tons of jokes and wits -- "Think for yourself" is the book's central message. It's not a crime after all....Continua