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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Teacher Man

by Frank McCourt
audiobook: 9 hours
narrated by the author

*** About the Book ***

Frank McCourt, author of the memoirs ANGELA'S ASHES and 'TIS, returns to tell more of his life story in this third memoir.  TEACHER MAN focuses on his 30 year career as a high school teacher in New York City.  The book includes bits of his childhood and young adult life and the ways they influenced his behavior as a teacher. 

*** Why I Listened To It ***

I always meant to check out this book (and 'TIS as well) after I read ANGELA'S ASHES years ago but I never got around to it.  Since my car doesn't have a CD player I am limited in the books I can listen to in the car, so I was really excited to find that this was available on cassette at my library.

*** My Thoughts ***

Can I tell you how much I love Frank McCourt?  This guy is hilarious! Of course, much of his humor is self-deprecating and he definitely doesn't think that highly of himself, but he is still really, REALLY funny.

I loved hearing about his experience in the classroom.  The comments from his early students had me imagining the classroom setting in the movie Grease - you know, with the students all calling out and arguing with the teachers?  That is what most of his first years of teaching seemed to be like.  As his career progressed he became better at handling his students and keeping them on track, and I really enjoyed hearing how he kept their attention.

My favorite part of the book was when he talked about specific students.  The one that touched me the most was a boy named Bob Stein, a "Jewish Future Farmer of America" whose parents were flabergasted by his desire to be a farmer.  McCourt ran into Bob several years after graduation and was able to tell him how much he loved having Bob in class, and what an impact this student had on him.  It was incredibly sweet.

Although there are some sad and disturbing parts to this book I really enjoyed listening to it.  It had me laughing out loud again and again and I've already recommended to several people.

*** About the Narrator ***

McCourt narrated this book himself and he did a fantastic job.  He is one of those authors whose work benefits from being read aloud, and when you add the perfect narrator ... well, things can't get much better!

*** Your Thoughts ***

Have you read any of Frank McCourt's books?  If so, which was your favorite?  I have his children's book ANGELA AND THE BABY JESUS on my shelf ... hopefully I'll remember to read it with Kiddo this Christmas.


Serena said...

I really loved this book when I read it. I loved that he was not confident about reaching the students, but he still did his job...and I think he enjoyed it for the most part.

Wonderful book. I'm glad you liked it.

Suey said...

I read and loved Angela's Ashes, but have never managed to get to these other two. And I think 'Tis is even on my shelf somewhere, lost in the chaos.

bermudaonion said...

I bet this is good. Did you know one of his students, Susan Jane Gilman, is a published author?

Alyce said...

I have read Angela's Ashes and Tis, but not this one (at least I don't think I have read it). I have that kind of deja vu feeling like I might have read it and just don't remember. :) That happens occasionally with books from pre-blogging days. I'm sure I'd be able to tell once I started reading it. I'll have to pick it up one of these days just to see if it is indeed one I've read before. I do very much enjoy his writing though.

Bybee said...

I'm always a little lukewarm about audiobooks (but slowly improving!) but when it comes to Frank McCourt, I would be right there on the front line. When I read his prose I can hear his much better then to actually hear it!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Serena - I agree, he didn't think he was doing a good job, but in the end I think he really was.

Suey - I know the feeling! I've been meaning to read this for YEARS.

bermudaonion - NO, I didn't know! That's really cool.

Alyce - Yes, pre-blogging reading is rather fuzzy in my mind as well. But this book could definitely stand up to a reread!

Bybee - Yes, I know your aversion to audiobooks. *grin* But McCourt is simply fabulous telling his own stories. I really think you'd get along fine with his audiobooks.

Anonymous said...

His brother Alphie makes a good narrator, too, although his story is a bit bland at times.

I skipped this one, though...books about teaching hold little to no appeal, since I spent 4 years (4 very long years) as a substitute teacher.

Shelley said...

I feel so out of it--I haven't read anything by him yet. I want to though. Maybe audio is the way to go.

Lisa said...

I've read this other two but wasn't sure McCourt had enough story left for a third book. Apparently he did. I'll have to get this one.

April (BooksandWine) said...

I've only read Angela's Ashes. Unfortunately don't remember much from it, except that it was super depressing.

It's nice to see that this one doesn't look quite as depressing.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

softdrink - you mean you weren't INSPIRED by your substitute teaching experience?! ~LOL~

Shelley - I highly recommend the audios of his books - he is a fabulous storyteller.

Lisa - Oh yes, there is definitely enough story left! :)

April - His childhood certainly WAS depressing, but I still enjoyed his first book. This one is much lighter though - you might enjoy it.

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