Angela’s Ashes is Frank McCourt’s autobiographical novel of an impoverished childhood in Limerick, Ireland. When his parents, Angela Sheehan and Malachy McCourt, met and married in New York City, Malachy could not find work to support his family. The couple ends up moving back to Limerick, where they soon have a large family to support, and precious little income. Disease claims two of their children, while Frank contracts typhoid and is hospitalized. A bright student, he is impressed when a dying girl quotes Shakespeare to him. Frank recovers, and earns his keep with odd jobs, studying hard at school. His father leaves behind his family in order to work at a British factory during World War II, but fails to send money home. When the family home is burned down, Angela’s financial difficulties entangle her in a sordid relationship, and life grows even worse for the children. Frank dreams of emigrating to America, finally stealing money for his passage, and his arrival in New York City is a moment of great hopefulness. Narrated with humor, compassion, and a liberal dose of irony, Angela’s Ashes is a contemporary classic.