11 February 2000
Your review doesn't surprise me from what I have heard. I am now reading the sequel to Angela's Ashes, a memoir called 'Tis. While the books are sad and ugly in content, the spirit of young Frank shines through. Also, Frank McCourt's prose is really interesting to read. It flows in an engaging way and I have found myself reading until 1 AM on several occasions.
You were correct on your observation that perhaps this movie should make us appreciate what we have. I have vaguely known about extreme poverty from movies, books, education, etc., but never had it so concretely described to me before.
Thanks for the feedback. Certain novels are more difficult to translate effectively onto the screen. Highly-stylized works often fall flat when concrete visuals are made to stand for what saw in our heads when we were reading the material. (Beloved is another example of this.) Another way in which adaption from a novel can be unsatisfactory is in capturing the humor of the book. Some things just look funnier when you see them on a page. The length of the sentence, where it lies in relation to the other sentences, your own inflection as you read–these all contribute a different feeling that having a disembodied voice on the screen narrate the accompanying action. Sometimes it works (like in Fight Club), other times not (as in Angela's Ashes).
14 December 2000
I was appalled when the author of this article wrote that the McCourt family's conditions weren't unbearable. That's fucking (excuse my language) idiocy! They lived in a house that was falling down! They ate a crust of dried bread for dinner every night! They were infested by lice and fleas! Three of Frank's siblings DIED. How is that not unbearable? Let me ask you a question? Where do you live? Probably in some nice little house and you probably sleep in a warm bed, and have a nice big meal for dinner each night. I bet none of your brothers or sister died from starvation. So how dare you say that their situation was not unbearable until you've actually lived the life? I was disgusted by your article.
15 December 2000
Talk about lifting a sentence out of context! When I wrote "But it's not unbearable!" the line followed sentence after sentence describing the pain and misery of the McCourts' enviroment. The following sentence describes how the attempts at levity are ineffective in light of these circumstances. My point is precisely that it is so unbearable that protestations to the contrary are unconvincing. [At any rate, by your line of reasoning, I would have to have the experience of squalor to make any sort of judgment on it one way or the other–claiming the situation to be unbearable would be just as false as claiming it to be bearable.]
Thanks for reading. I do sleep in a nice warm bed every night!
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