Sunday, August 27, 2006

Easter Rising by Michael Patrick MacDonald

A few years back, McDonald wrote the brilliant All Souls, a painful memoir of growing up in the Old Colony housing projects in the Irish-mob controlled, white slums of South Boston and the many tragedies that befell his large Irish-Catholic family because of drugs, guns and the insulating ignorance of the community. This sort of picks up where he left off-- his family is struggling and he’s depressed so he finds the nascent Boston punk rock scene, fits in a little, grows up a little and then he goes to Ireland and everything is all wild Irish roses. (The Ireland trips reminded me of the tacked on “Communism-will-solve-all-your-problems” ending from Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and was just as unsatisfying.) MacDonald certainly writes well enough but Easter Rising just isn’t All Souls. I’ve said it before—I’m suspect of people who write their memoirs before the age of forty and even moreso of those who then write a second or third, especially if you aren’t some notable public figure or have gone on to do remarkable things between books. As much as I admire the author, his story, and his skills, it just didn't involve me as I had hoped.

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