Angela's Ashes is the 1996 memoir of Frank McCourt (1930—2009), an Irish-American child growing up in poverty in Ireland. It is a collection of various anecdotes and stories of his impoverished childhood and early adulthood in Limerick, Ireland.The novel was followed by two further novels continuing McCourt's life story; 'Tis (1999) and Teacher Man (2005).It was adapted into a 1999 film, directed by Alan Parker and starring Robert Carlyle as Malachy Sr and Emily Watson as Angela.
Angsty Surviving Twin: This provides perhaps the most heart-wrenching scene in the memoir when Oliver, one of the young twins dies and the other one, Eugene, keeps pathetically saying his name, wondering where he is, etc.
Big Applesauce: Frank dreams of (and succeeds in) returning to New York.
Caught with Your Pants Down: Frank and his friends regularly go to a rocky, hilly landscape in the wilderness and wank off next to each other (but apparently not 'with' each other). Being Catholic, they have to confess their sins. It helps that the old priest is mostly deaf and doesn't really pay attention to a word they said — until one day Frank slides into the booth all set to confess and finds a new and very alert priest there; the other one had died during the night.
A similar moment occurs when one of Frank's friends charges his classmates to spy on his older sisters as they prepare for a bath. One of the boys climbing up the spout gets a little overzealous and ends up pulling the drainpipe off the wall, causing the rest of the boys to be caught in the act as well.
Childhood Brain Damage: Angela's brother and Frank's uncle Pat, who is slow-minded and is said to have been "dropped on the head" as a baby.
Children Raise You: Frank ends up having to fill the 'man of the house' role because of his father's drinking, irresponsible behaviour, and eventual departure to England for work.
Confessional: Frank goes to Confessional for the sin of 'regurgitating God' into his backyard, as he had eaten too much from his First Communion meal and threw up because of it. He's given penance but is then sent back to the confessional by his granny to ask how to clean it up. Upon returning with the answer of 'Water', he is sent back by his granny, again, to know if they are to use normal water or Holy water to clean up the mess. The Priest, frustrated, tells him normal water and to leave him alone.
Cool Teacher: Mr O'Halloran, a decidedly modern teacher compared to the others of the time.
Crapsack World: Of the worst kind. There's a reason he describes it as a "miserable childhood".
Daddy's Girl: A tragic example; in the beginning of the book a daughter, Margaret is born to the family. The normally alcoholic Malachy Sr dedicates himself to his daughter. A week later his daughter dies, sending Malachy Sr back to the bottle in grief.
Doomy Dooms of Doom: Frank cynically observes at one point: "Doom. The favourite word of every priest in Limerick."
Fat Bastard / Fat Slob: Laman Griffin, Angela's overweight cousin who forces her to sleep with him, makes Frank empty his piss pot and sloppily eats chips while refusing to share them with any of Angela's kids — they have to lick the newspaper he throws out because they are so hungry.
Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: Frank is conflicted between his sexual desires and his Catholic faith. He worries, for instance, that he may have jeopardized Theresa Carmody's soul by sleeping with her before she died.