Study Guide

Angela's Ashes Genre

By Frank McCourt


Memoir; Coming-Of-Age

A memoir and an autobiography have a lot in common, so what exactly sets them apart? For starters, a memoir's not based on facts and dates (yes, they're important but they don't have to be 100% accurate). What matters in a memoir is the author's own personal take on his or her life—his or her unique experiences. In this case, the memoir covers a particular time span, Frank's youth.

It's also a coming-of-age story, about that time in your life between childhood and adulthood when you stop seeing and reacting to things as a child. In Frank's case, growing up is an escape. He's able to fend for himself, earn money, help his family, and realize his dream of going back to America. He's no longer at the mercy of his impoverished family and welfare agency bureaucrats. Frank had to come of age quicker than most.

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