Author Frank McCourt dies

The death of Angela’s Ashes author Frank McCourt is not feminist news, I know. But McCourt had a special place in my heart, so I just wanted to take a minute to acknowledge him.
I knew McCourt as Mr. McCourt – he was my English teacher in high school for a short while. He was also the first person to read my writing out loud – he picked my essay out of everyone’s in our class to read as an example of good work, and it made an incredible impact on me. (In no small part because I admired him so much as a teacher.) He was a big part of the reason I wanted to be a writer.
McCourt’s writing touched a lot of people, but I’ll always be grateful that for years, students in New York City were blessed with him as a teacher.

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    That’s pretty cool you had him as a teacher! Unfortunately, I never read Angela’s Ashes before but I ordered it today. I look forward to reading the book…

  • erinmerle

    I loved Angela’s Ashes. I read it at a particularly difficult time in my life and it’s message really inspired me. You’re so lucky to have had him as a teacher!

  • klompen

    Thanks for that! Angela’s Ashes was the first grown-up book I truly adored; I knew I was going to be a writer after falling for it. And as a fan of your work, your teacher’s praise was quite prescient.

  • Vivica

    Wow, that’s so great that he was your teacher. I haven’t read Angela’s Ashes, but I did read Teacher Man. It sounded like he really grappled with teaching for a long time before he felt settled in the role. Or, perhaps he just didn’t realize what a good job he was doing the whole time!

  • Women’s Voices for Change

    What a lovely essay. Honored that you shared your experience of Mr. McCourt. What a wonder his classes must have been.
    Though, I’d say Frank McCourt’s life, writing, and his passing certainly are feminist news.
    Laura Sillerman, writing for Women’s Voices For Change, highlights some of the deep love and respect McCourt had for his mother.
    He may not have been a feminist in the traditional sense, but his heart came to be in the right place.
    And we can absolutely say that he upheld the drive to tell stories with respect and dignity, and empowerment to the voiceless.
    – Elizabeth Willse, Contributing Editor
    Women’s Voices For Change

  • lyndorr

    Wow. I knew he was a real person writing about his life but now it seems more real that he taught in NYC. I enjoyed Angela’s Ashes and Teacher Man.

  • jackie

    I also loved Angela’s Ashes. It’s been several years since I read it, so I don’t entirely remember the plot. But I do remember that it had me sobbing while I read it on a crowded bus.
    How amazing your English classes must have been!

  • SailorROX

    au contrairre…
    I’d say that Angela’s Ashes was just as much about Angela (McCourt’s mother and namesake for the book) as it was of him. It is a gripping account of the struggles of a woman as she raised her large family in a Catholic culture in a slum of Limerick. Many times throughout the book McCourt refers to all the things his mother was forced to do for the survival of her family, including begging for chairty, while the father was often drunk or not present at all. Of course it’s feminist news!

  • Renee

    I just learned about his passing today. It truly saddened me. I loved Angelas Ashes though Tis did not measure up to his first published work. He gave the world a beautiful gift with his work and it is a truly a wonderful legacy to leave behind. He discussed class so unabashedly and with humor and sensitivity. So many are functioning under the false belief that everyone is middle class or that white people don’t really suffer under poverty and Angelas Ashes was a learning lesson for many.