Well dearest #kindredspiritsclub, I am so excited to be apart of this beautiful group that has accumulated beautiful faces, hearts, minds, and spirits. By Sarah coming up with the idea of a blog and Nikki making it come true, while Bekah, Naoma, and I have been cheering on and excited to start, I have seen how fast you ladies make dreams happen! It is so encouraging and has enlightened me in this part of my life where my dreams seem so distant to keep persevering and even start up my own blog again. 🙂
One thing I really do treasure is my books. They are treasure boxes detailed and filled with blossoming new worlds and ideas that have been planted by minds that were once inspired by other minds before it, which thus has been miraculously handed down to us. I am sure most of you know exactly what I am talking about (let me make it simple for you, it is called bibliophilic syndrome…. I may have made that up). So to help start us off on this beautiful blog waiting to be filled with outpouring of hearts, I want to share a journal entry from my book log. It is actually the first book I logged down in my brown leather journal and I believe it is quite fitting, since it is one of those books where life lessons are learned. It put the importance of my own personal life quite clear, while washing away everything that never was worthy of my complaints and attention. The reason I started the journal was from the realization that many good books I read may never be read twice and that I might forget what I enjoyed and learned from those reads. So here I go. It is not the happiest book, but for some reason I was reminded of it when we decided to do a blog. I think that is because it is always a reminder to me that I am so fortunate to live out dreams when many never did or will. Hold onto your dreams and hopes ladies!
“Frank McCourt has examined his ferocious childhood, walked around it, relived it, and with skill and care and generosity of heart, has transformed it into a triumphant work of art. This book will be read when all of us are gone.” ~ Pete Hamill, Irish American Magazine
I read Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt this past fall (2014). I bought it used at the little book store at the library I usually go to.
I started reading it a couple days after I got it at a lab appointment. After that I had a hard time putting it down. It is simply written, but with a splash of elegance. The style is very different, but well written.
It’s written as a novel but really is a memoir of his childhood and early years as a young poor adult trying to leave Ireland to go back to the country where he was born — America. He tells his story the way you may tell things that are matter-of-fact to you, so when something happens or is done not according to the social norm in the book, you get that hitting kick in the gut feeling of grief when you realize how normal that was to him — a very poor Irish boy. There are times you are not sure to burst out laughing or to break into tears…. I definitely had my share of both while reading this book.
The three things I took of this reading I know will never leave me: what real destitution is, what children are looking for, and why hope is so important.
I have gone to the Philippines twice now, and real destitution becomes real when you go to third world countries. However, I only stayed there for a small amount of time, not really getting to know the real destitute very personal. Frank McCourt doesn’t even hesitate to open that opportunity for you; in fact it’s more than you are willing to take at times. A father who is a drunk and hardly brings back his pay for the family to eat, a mother who is always depresses and eventually has to sell herself to a family member so they have a roof over their heads, shoes that are made out of tires, babies who have to live off of water and sugar, relatives who hate your guts, teachers who beat you, religious Catholics who shun you because you live in the scum, a reality where food is always on your mind, where living spaces are filthy and a norm, where sex is the only drive in life besides surviving, a life where many dreams that you constantly try to revive after they are shattered again and again, where one act of kindness is the only flicker to bring back your hopes.
Why did I ever believe my troubles were more than the truly destitute? God forgive me….
McCourt has a soft heart for his younger siblings. Children were the real innocence in his story and the most vulnerable to get snatched away into society’s ruthless claws of a miserable adulthood.
He takes you on a journey through the mind of his young growing mind — the questions that many children have. Adults never seem to have the patience for childlike questions, because they are questions of innocence that they themselves use to have and probably were never answered by the adults in their lives. Through a child’s eyes you see how harmful it is for an adult to just push aside that yearning child with his beautifully innocent questions. When that child finally gives up, so does the sparkle in his eyes — the hope all children have gets replaced with resentment. What a tragedy… only because the adults in his life would not take the time with patience to listen and try to answer his questions in the best way they could.
Many people know how important is is to have hope in life. If one person doesn’t have it, there is always someone else who does. Imagine though when a whole society has no hope whatsoever. Imagine growing up in that setting… there is no availability to dream, and when you try you are put down lower by your peers and especially by those who are older or above you. Your peers may for a time dream with you, but the older you get the more it is looked down upon. Why? Because dreams are no longer real — they are fairy tales.
There were a few people who McCourt met who gave him a glimpse of hope when he was growing up, which kept him going to live his dream — to go back to America. It is so easy to give up, to give in to the helpless life, but without hope life is nothing but survival. Even survival seems impossible without hope.
I believe Angela’s Ashes is a must read for all mature readers — at least once. It is not the most happy book, but it is one that all need to view life in a way that finds the innocence and cherishes it forever, and Frank McCourt portrays that beautifully.
“It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while.” ~ Frank McCourt
(Sorry to display my faith here, but I wrote this verse in my journal next to my entry and I found it too beautiful not to share) Matthew 18:10: “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”