Back-of-the-box blurb: Alphie McCourt was born in Limerick, Ireland, where his father’s departure left misery behind for the family. His loneliness only grew deeper and wider as each of his older brothers (Frank, Malachy and Michael) left for America; so in the year 1959, Alphie followed them.
Alphie’s adolescence in New York was marked by aimlessness, and too much drink. Briefly returning to Ireland, he returned to America only three years later, where this time he settled in California.
Returning to his immigrant roots in New York City, success followed by hardship in business ventures color several of the following years. Then, one night, on Route 80 in New Jersey, drunk, full of despair and driving through the snow, Alphie has an epiphany.
Today …he is home.
She is Too Fond of Books’ thoughts: The first thing to know about this audiobook is that it is read by the narrator. McCourt’s slow deliberate pacing reminds the listener that he is a storyteller, and this is his story. He doesn’t want to rush the story as he relives his childhood in near-poverty in Limerick, his attempts at finding home in Ireland, California, and New York, and the bridge between the family he was born into, and the family he created.
Every once in a while, Alphie McCourt breaks into song, the tunes are sung in an almost mournful Irish brogue. These musical interludes are well-placed, and pick up the pacing of the reading, which can plod along at times (despite McCourt’s engaging lilt).
Like every life, there is a combination of humor, joy, sadness, and sorrow in McCourt’s memoir. He has some interesting stories to share, spanning all the way back from his impoverished childhood in Ireland to the present day. Oftentimes the memoir chronicles a series of failures; it is certainly not an upbeat story, and I don’t believe it is a typical immigrant story (who can say, after all, what is typical). But, it was one man’s journey; he takes full ownership of the choices he’s made through the years.
Readers who’ve enjoyed the stories of Frank and Malachy McCourt might be especially interested in this third perspective and the turns of Alphie McCourt.
Visit the Hachette Book Group website to listen to an excerpt from the audio of A Long Stone’s Throw.
FTC disclosure: This audiobook was given to me by a friend … and it wasn’t even my birthday!