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Memories of a Catholic Girlhood Paperback – March 15, 1972
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Mary indeed had a childhood, and unusual it was. I am sure it marked her forever to lose both her parents within a week of one another to influenza at age six. To add to the horror, the family was traveling by train to start a new life in Minnesota. Mary, herself, was deathly ill with the virus, and that colored her impressions of the tragic event.
Some reviewers and the book jacket describe her childhood as "Dickensonian," I presume referring to Oliver Twist. I disagree, as Mary came from a well-to-do family that didn't lack for the material things of life. She lived with an aunt and uncle from her 6th to 11th year and was tremendously unhappy, claiming she didn't have enough to eat, was dressed in hand-me-downs and frequently beaten. Yet all photos of this time depict a well-dressed, well-fed child. At age 11, she was taken to live with her benevolent, wealthy grandparents in Seattle. From that time on, she received the kindest attention and was expensively educated. My doubts about those five early years are because Ms. McCarthy all her life was an implacable, unforgiving enemy when her feelings were aroused.
The memoir is beautifully written with sharp and fascinating characterizations of her family. She appends each chapter with an epilogue taking an adult's eye-view of her childhood impressions. It is most effective. You are constantly reaffirming her brilliance. Well worth reading.
The childhood she had was less than perfect, I agree, but the fact that she survived it and lived to create such a wonderful literary account of it almost makes me appreciative of her having to go through it. The chapter on her grandmother is so reminiscent of my own mother that I had to laugh out loud at times.
Well worth the read and the struggle through the many latin references and unfamiliar religious practices.
but her writing skill comes through and the book has a lasting impact on the reader.
The influences on her as a child were in such stark contrast. The intensity of her
Catholic grandmother vs. the liberal outlook of the other side of her family were probably
not uncommon in that day and time.
The events that occurred in McCarthy's childhood were both tragic and dramatic: the death of her parents in the flu epidemic of 1918, the subsequent neglect and maltreatment by her great uncle and aunt, and the separation of McCarthy from her siblings. The author is at her best when she loses herself in the poignant depictions of childhood grief and confusion, for example in her depiction of the missing butterfly trinket and the unjustified beating that resulted from the trinket's recovery.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book consists of sometimes-isolated stories about growing up under the influence of the Catholic Church and many unfortunately cruel and unhelpful relatives. Read morePublished 7 days ago by sterlingAg
I couldn't get interested in this. You may be able to. I need more action.Published 28 days ago by Valerie Provines
very long explaination for process of replacement child,but sad also.Published 13 months ago by maryjaneklune
The book wasn't wasn't what I expected, but it is well written and I felt that I got to know Mary personally. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Nancy Blaskewicz
Couldn't hold my interest. Expected it to get better but never did..needed more interest and plot. A very scattered story.Published 14 months ago by happyhiker
I grew up in Catholic girlhood. This book was somewhat disappointing.Published 15 months ago by Joanne Jakubowicz