Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Irish Book Review - Tis

"Tis" by Frank McCourt is the second installment of his memoirs that continues the story started in "Angela's Ashes". The story start with Frank on a boat to America. It's a story of his personal version of the immigrant's American Dream story. It's a not an easy journey as Frank struggles to survive and make a life as a teacher in New York City.

The story resonates for me as a first generation Irish-American. McCourt writes is his prologue about how he would fight with his brothers to keep his American dream his. he learned how to share it with his brothers. I am the beneficiary of my parents American Dream that brought them to these shores in 1928. There were many years that it didn't feel like a dream growing up or I didn't appreciate the American Dream that was given to me but I've come to appreciate it and be thankful for the great sacrifices my parents made.

McCourt and my life were different but I went through my own version of trying to make my way from being a high school drop out in the South Bronx through multiple factory jobs, a return to school with a GED and eventually studying in a MA program in Creative Writing at City College to a brief stint as a teacher in the Bronx to where I am today.

I identify with his struggle as a teacher and I found his story of his family life fascinating. I know the landscape McCourt writes about.

His description of his father and his relationship with him is tragic and yet very real. Having just recently connected with my family on both my mother's and father's side in Ireland I have made the reverse journey back to discover Ireland and family. It's been a great adventure and has served to connect all the dots in my life in a way I never expected.

His writing is candid and moving. "Tis" is a book worth reading. A reviewer wrote that he survived his life to tell his tale. I feel the same about my life and hopefully I will be able to tell an entertaining and interesting tale in my writing.

Reading "Tis" has refocused me and re inspired me to spend more time writing the autobiography I never completed for my MA program many years ago. So I'm going to start writing my story and I'm going to move on to read his next book "Teacher Man." I'm also going to listen to his reading of the book on CD so I can hear the language of someone who is a great storyteller.

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