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'Angela's Ashes' by Frank McCourt - Book Club Discussion Questions

Reading Group Guide

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Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt is a moving memoir with a powerful voice. Use these book club discussion questions as a guide for talking about McCourt's childhood in Ireland.

Spoiler Warning: These questions may reveal important details about Angela's Ashes. Finish the book before reading on.

  1. On the first page of Angela's Ashes, McCourt says, "worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." In what ways was his childhood miserable? How did being Irish and being Catholic contribute to his misery?

  2. What techniques does McCourt use to create a distinct voice? How would you describe his voice in Angela's Ashes?

  3. Discuss McCourt's experiences in school. Are you surprised to learn he became a teacher? How do you think his experiences influenced him?

  4. How would you describe McCourt's father, Malachy? What are the different ways Frank McCourt views his father in the book?

  5. Why do you think McCourt titled the memoir Angela's Ashes? How would you describe his mother's presence in his childhood?

  6. In what ways is Angela's Ashes uplifting despite the sad situations in the story? How does McCourt produce hope through his writing?

  7. What is the view of America in Angela's Ashes?

  8. How would you describe McCourt's view of the Catholic Church?

  9. Did Angela's Ashes teach you anything new about Ireland?

  10. Rate Angela's Ashes on a scale of one to five.
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