'Tis: A Memoir
frank mccourt's glorious childhood memoir, angela's ashes, has been loved and celebrated by readers everywhere for its spirit, its wit and its profound humanity.
the onion's. A. V. Club - keith phipps
frank mccourt's angela's ashes, a memoir about growing up under difficult circumstances in brooklyn and limerick, became an unexpected sensation a couple years ago, and deservedly so. Mccourt, using delicate, direct prose, related the difficulty of an impoverished childhood troubled by a hard-drinking, irresponsible father. angela's ashes closes with mccourt's journey back to america, and its sequel, tis, picks up almost precisely where its predecessor left off. If mccourt's patriotic closing sentiment in ashes seemed a bit too simplistic, tis makes it clear that america didn't immediately offer milk and honey to her prodigal son. Undereducated, unwashed, and plagued by eye troubles, mccourt struggles to carve out a life in new york, working as a busboy to the privileged in the '40s before joining the army and eventually returning to new york to resume his education.
mccourt is fine prose stylist and a colorful storyteller, and 'tis, for its first two thirds at least, proves a worthy successor to angela's ashes. As mccourt grows older on the page, however, the faux-naif narration that works so well in describing his life as a child and a young man begins to seem more like a device behind which to hide. Later chapters dealing with his marriage and teaching career prove less compelling and less cohesive: some events (the dissolution of his marriage) seem out of the blue, while others (his own drinking) drop out of the narrative entirely. Closing chapters dealing with the death of mccourt's mother and father are quite moving, however, and readers of ashes will no doubt find tis a satisfying, if less essential, sequel.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster