| In the Spotlight |
Angela's Ashes, the poignant tale of a boy growing up in poverty in Limerick, Ireland, was a huge hit. After a long run on the hardcover bestseller lists, last week it remained the No. 1 paperback nonfiction bestseller, according to The New York Times. But 'Tis has none of the charm of the first book. It is a tedious account of Mr. McCourt's adjustment to America, his search for sex, his encounters with hypocritical priests and other religious folk, his time in bars, and his excuses for failure. Mr. McCourt has a remarkable memory for names, descriptions, and the telling details that should make a memoir come to life. He used that talent in the first book to depict a number of memorable characters, but in 'Tis he turns a gimlet eye on everyone he comes across. A more unappealing cast of characters is hard to imagine, and it's depressing that Mr. McCourt, who described with such acuity his own father's alcoholism, chose to follow so closely in his father's footsteps-even abandoning his own daughter when she was 8.