This is an enthralling portrait of life in Limerick (Ireland) during the forties. A tale of poverty, dark days and alcholism it gives the reader an insight into life in the slum dwellings of the time. While it could be a depressing read Frank McCourts humour shines through and there are some hilarious passages filled with the childish pranks he and his brothers got up to. It is heartwarming to read of his preparation for his first holy communion ( a major day in any Irish childs life) and how he was both terrified and thrilled simutaneously. His love of the local cinema will bring a familiar wave of nostalgia to many a reader as he recounts sitting in the local flea-pit with his penny chews. Throughout the book one is struck how despite the poverty and disfunction in his family the child that was Frank McCourt displays the indestructible wondor of childhood, this is what gets him through really, the ability to detach from his surroundings which are indeed bleak. The love and the destruction of the love that his parents held for each other seems to echo throughout the story, it is clear that at one time they were very in love but as they say 'Love flys out the window, when bills come in the door' and with his fathers heavy drinking adding to the already burdened family it is no surprise when he finally abandons the young family altogether leaving the young Frank to assume resbonsibilites far in excess of his years. This was not all that unusual for the times though and Frank goes about his new role with the same enthusiam he displays as a child. Full of heartache and humour, this story gives one a clear picture of childhood conquering against the odds.