To start off February well, I'm going to write about a book again. It's not the most heartwarming story, but as it is about Ireland it refers to my Erasmus adventure in 2016. I've received the book for my birthday from a girl I met at my Irish dance classes. She's very kind and I have no clue why I'm telling you this, but she really is.
by Frank McCourt
The story takes place in the US first and because of poverty the McCourts decide to move back to Ireland as they were Irish. Everything is told by the growing up Frank McCourt. Oh yes, this is an autobiography btw. I enjoy finishing this kind of books, but for some reason I'm afraid to start them. It's a weird thing I have. I don't like stopping in the middle of things.
"Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."
"Like his father before, he grew up wild, in trouble with the English, or the Irish, or both."
So the book shows poverty in the early 20th century in Ireland. Sometimes it even made me sad, because I've heard of it but when you're really into the story it feels so real. I don't know what Frank thinks of his father, because even though he felt sad by his irresponsible behaviour of drinking and never bringing the money home, he definitely loved him.
Another thing I noticed was how severe some people were. Again, I know how things were, but they were honestly so cruel. Even his grandma didn't want to help them while she knew they had nothing to eat or wear. Poor Frank, he suffered so much, but he honestly seemed a good boy. He also wanted the best for his mother and brothers.
The book reads very easily and if you're from a religious family like me, some scenes really make you laugh haha! You simply know such superstitious people.
"God was good. He melted and I swallowed him Him and now, at last,
I was a member of the True Church, an official sinner.
(...) In the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. Bless me, Father,
for I have sinned. It's a day since my last confession.
A day? And what sins have you committed, my child?
I overslept. I nearly missed my First Communion. My grandmother said
I have standing up, North of Ireland, Presbyterian hair.
I threw up my First Communion breakfast. Now Grandma says
she has God in her backyard and what should she do."
"There is my grandmother in the bed heaving and gasping with the labor pains, praying to St. Gerard Majella, patron saint of expectant mothers." (...) My grandmother switches her prayers to St. Ann, patron saint of difficult labor. But the child won't come. Nurse O'Halloran tells my grandmother, Pray to St. Jude, patron of desperate cases. (...) Ah, Lord above, says Nurse O'Halloran, this child is a time straddler, born with her head in the New Year and her arse in the Old or was it her head in the Old Year and her arse in the New. You'll have to write to the Pope, missus, to find out what year this child was born in"
"In November Malachy got drunk and decided it was time to register the child's birth. He thought he might name the child Malachy, after himself, but his North of Ireland accent and the alcoholic mumble confused the clerk so much he simply entered the name Male on the certificate. (...) There was a delay the day of the baptism when the chosen godfather, John McErlaine, got drunk at the speakeasy and forgot his responsibilities."
On top of it all, it is filled with funny anecdotes and Frank McCourt tells it like it is in a positive way. He's a great writer and I'm glad to have read this book after spending four months of my life in Limerick. I understand their mentality better and I think once you understand their culture, you can explain some behaviours.
"In every lane there's always someone not talking to someone or everyone not talking to someone or someone not talking to everyone. You can always tell when people are not talking be the way they pass each other. The women hoist their noses, tighten their mouths and turn their faces away. If the woman is wearing a shawl she takes a corner and flings it over her shoulder as if to say, One word or look from you, you ma-faced bitch, and I'll tear the countenance from the front of your head."
"He stands at the wall and shakes his stick and shouts that if he ever catches us we'll have the length of his boot up our arses and we laugh because we're out of harm's way and I'm wondering why anyone should be hungry in a world full of milk and apples."
"Shakespeare is like mashed potatoes, you can never get enough of him."
"That Shakespeare is that good he must have been an Irishman."