How would Angela's Ashes be received here today?

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Myrealana

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If I were reading this opening right now in SYW, not knowing what book it came from, I would want to read more. I see no major changes that are needed. It does what opening sentences are supposed to do, and it does it well.
 

Cella

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This is my favorite book ever. Everything from the style and subtle humor to the sadness of the content hooked me.



I want to go read it again right now, actually.
 

CaroGirl

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Maybe it would help if the OP could articulate what he thinks is wrong with Angela's Ashes and Frank McCourt's writing, particularly this opening, which he/she seems to have an issue with.

OP?
 

khobar

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I am not attracted to misery memoirs, and I rolled my eyes each time I was told I should read Angela's Ashes. What was there for me in a book about Irish poverty? I'd heard the same stories, and many others, over and over growing up. Thank goodness I am open minded and took a chance on it.

RE: experts - agents specifically.

Angela's Ashes is, in my humble opinion, the epitome of good story telling and masterful writing. The sequel, 'Tis, on the other hand, is not, but no matter.

Thanks for the replies, btw. - enlightening and encouraging.
 

khobar

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I can't believe this is a serious question. Angela's Ashes is not an ancient book. It wasn't written in 1840. It was, and is, one of the most brilliant memoirs I've ever read. The writing is unbelievably good.

No one likes every opening, but this opening drew in millions, and still would today, all these centuries later. Once I read the first couple of sentences, I couldn't stop.

Two things are wrong with your nalysis of what the "experts" say. 1. McCourt most certainly did live an extraordinary life. 2. McCourt was an fantastic writer, a man who could get his life down on paper so well, so believably, so engagingly, that he could have written a phone book and had it published.

Nothing whatsoever has changed between then and now. Absolutely nothing. The experts said exactly the same things then as now, and they'll be saying the same thing a hundred years from now, and they're right.

Two thing always apply to those who are not some sort of celebrity, who are not, for one reason or another, famous. 1. That you have lived a life worth reading about. McCourt did. People loved reading about his life. 2. That you are an incredibly good writer, far above average, who can make that life so realistic that when a character spills a bowl of soup, the page gets wet. McCourt did this, as well.

Not everyone who isn't a celebrity has a life worth reading about. For ordinary people, a life worth reading about is, as one agent put it, about the journey from a bad there to a good here. This certainly fits McCourt.

But maybe one in a thousand, or one in ten thousand, who do have a life worth reading about have the talent and skill necessary to put that life down on paper as well as McCourt did, and being able to do this is essential.

At any rate, Angela's Ashes has an opening that did, and still does, draw readers in, it has a wonderful story, and it's written as well as anything I've ever read. And seriously, 1996 was yesterday, so asking if McCourt were here today has no meaning. He is here today.

What was extraordinary about his life in Angela's Ashes? What made his life different from any other impoverished Irish family of the time?

I get the bad there, but what is the good here you refer to?
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

A few months ago I spoke with an agent at a conference about my memoir. He told me that the only memoirs that typically sell well are celebrity, event-based (Holocaust, 9/11, etc), and literary. All the literary ones need are good writing and a character arc.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

Bluegate

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What is this? Some kind of stalker question?
It's damn good writing. That's why. Those first few lines deliver clear, unmistakable voice. I will often read a book just for the writing itself and that opening would make me keep reading.
 

khobar

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Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

A few months ago I spoke with an agent at a conference about my memoir. He told me that the only memoirs that typically sell well are celebrity, event-based (Holocaust, 9/11, etc), and literary. All the literary ones need are good writing and a character arc.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Thanks Siri,

This may be of interest: seems people may be tiring of the celebrity memoir:
http://www.adweek.com/galleycat/celebrity-memoirs-are-losing-steam/96567?red=as
 

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