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'Tis: A Memoir Paperback – August 28, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

'Tis a blessing that the author narrates his own work. McCourt follows up his Audie Award-winning performance in Angela's Ashes with another brilliant reading as he chronicles his return to post-World War II New York. Like all good storytellers, McCourt has good stories to tell; 'Tis pulses with grim adversity and quiet triumphs--character-shaping moments that gain the listener's empathy. What makes McCourt a great storyteller is his ability to give these moments just the right amount of humor and perspective. His lyrical tones are wise but not weary; he's survived life's challenges to tell his tale. And while it may be trite to credit McCourt's verbal skills to his Irish heritage, these war stories were undoubtedly polished amongst friends in the pubs. 'Tis is Grammy material, and a perfect example of how an author's voice can enhance the written word. (Running time: 6 hours, 4 cassettes) --Rob McDonald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The appeal of McCourt as a reader of his own memoirs (Angela's Ashes flourished commercially on audio, in both abridged and unabridged formats) lies in his ability to express a sustained sense of wonder at the world around him. Also, his brogue is classic, an Irish species unto itself. Here he takes up where he left off in his last book, arriving in America. He is first guided by an Irish bartender who tells him to go to the New York Public Library and read Samuel Johnson. Thus assimilated, he becomes a supply clerk for the army, stationed in postwar Germany, then a warehouse laborer living in a rooming house, before earning a college degree at NYU and settling down as a teacher at a rowdy vocational high school in Staten Island. Along the way come romance and immigrant's-eye life observations aplenty, and a growing sense of knowingness develops even as McCourt's hopes are dashed against disillusions. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover. Also available unabridged and on CD. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (August 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684865742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684865744
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (843 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frank McCourt (1930-2009) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Irish immigrant parents, grew up in Limerick, Ireland, and returned to America in 1949. For thirty years he taught in New York City high schools. His first book, "Angela's Ashes," won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the L.A. Times Book Award. In 2006, he won the prestigious Ellis Island Family Heritage Award for Exemplary Service in the Field of the Arts and the United Federation of Teachers John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

207 of 211 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book, but it requires that you remove yourself from your negative impressions of Frank as a young man, and enjoy the beatiful story telling of Frank McCourt, as an author. As I read the criticism of this book by other readers, I am dumbfounded that people can critize the book because they don't like the character. The readers complain that they don't like the way McCourt behaved in America. These are complaints against a man and his actions, not against the novel. The subject matter may be upsetting, but the writing is still beautiful. It is utterly unfair to say that one loved Angela's Ashes because they liked the innocent boy Frank, but didn't like 'Tis because they didn't like the man he grew into. This book is brutally honest on McCourt's part. Angela's Ashes was equally disturbing in subject matter and its description of poverty, but the story was told through the innocence of youth and a child. In 'Tis the subject matter can be equally disturbing, but the story is now told through the eyes of an adult and the innocence is lost. This is the sign of a remarkable author, who can take his readers with him through is life and share the events as they appeared to him at the time. It is unrealistic to expect the poor child growing up on the Lane in Limerick to instantly grow into a noble and refined gentleman the way these readers expect him to. This book tells a disturbing and honest story of a man coming of age as an immigrant in New York.
For all of you complaining that you don't like the book because Frank swears, sleeps around, drinks too much and loses interest in his wife, please don't confuse dislike for a disturbing subject matter for dislike for a work of literature.
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138 of 143 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on November 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Angela's Ashes was a unique accomplishment on many levels. Tis was doomed before it ever came out because it would suffer by comparison. However, this is still a great read by an interesting man who has great sensitivity to dialogue, and makes some stinging social observations with great subtlety. The books cannot be compared unless you have strong feelings about the skill the writer had, or did not have in either volume. Is the language rougher, yes, this is a man describing his life, not a child. Does he have opinions that are black and white, with little room for gray at times, yes. Part of the problem with moving from one book to the next, is that the memories of a child, and terrible memories at that, are a powerful force to draw you in, and cause one to feel great sympathy and pain for the child. Then the child becomes a man, and it's much more difficult to carry the same empathy from the first book to the second. In fact I don't think it is possible. If you have read neither book, read this first, and then Angela's Ashes. The books change dramatically when you do. The harsh criticism of the man becomes infinitely more complex and difficult if you learn of the childhood that was his formative years. Most autobiographies, or biographies cover a life, not pieces of a life that in this case are still unfolding. The abrupt change from book one to book two is caused, I believe, because they are bound separately. If he had covered the same period in his life with a single book it would have been more comfortable for the reader. I am glad that he did break his life up, as Angela's Ashes will forever remain a book that will gain the title of a "Classic".Read more ›
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By sbelleh@unmc.edu on January 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
'Tis was quite an interesting book. I looked forward to reading this after I read "Angela'Ashes". I was impressed with Mr. McCourt's observations of the American society and culture. Not only was he shocked at some things he saw and experienced in his early years "just off the boat", but he also had to deal with some self-esteem issues. He worked hard at overcoming some of his demons. I noticed he found it quite difficult to forgive or forget in many instances which one can attribute to the bitterness he felt towards the church, his father and sometimes his mother. There were many lessons I got from reading 'Tis such as sticking to ones dreams of a better education, a better life, family loyalty, love and commitment, just to name a few. I do believe Mr. McCourt is a survivor in all respects. His gift of story telling is superb and I commend him in all his endeavors. Overall, this was a great sequel and I thank you Mr. McCourt for hanging in there.
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81 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Frank Balogh, Jr. on October 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I've just finished "Tis" and found I have mixed feelings about the work and the author - feelings I didn't have concerning "Angela's Ashes". During my reading, I found myself rooting for Frank McCourt to not fall into the same trap as his father did, that trap the Irish call "the weakness". I rooted for him to go to school, get the girl, live the American dream happily ever after. But this wasn't the way Frank McCourt's life was to be.
So I obviosly made the mistake most reviewers of "Tis" made. This work is a MEMOIR, not a work of fiction nor fantasy. If I take Frank McCourt at his written word, he has been mostly unsuccessful in his life's dreams, and fallen far short of personal goals. The book seems to be more of a self examination held in public for ridicule and criticism - as any good Catholic boy must do. Who else would have to air their linen thus. And who else except a superb story teller could make a success of it in spite of those failings. It's a MEMOIR. It's a sad, joyful, shameful, depressing, and very funny MEMOIR. It doesn't need any psychoanalysis or critical reader analysis, or comparisons to similar authors past or present. It's a MEMOIR!
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