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Memories of a Catholic Girlhood

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Memories of a Catholic Girlhood.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Mary McCarthy(Author)

    Book details


Many a time in the course of doing these memoirs, I have wished that I were writing fiction. These are Mary McCarthy's words as she blends memories with family myths to take us back to the twenties, when she was orphaned in a world of relations as colourful, potent and mysterious as the Catholic religion itself.

Superb...so heartbreaking that in comparison Jane Eyre seems to have got off lightly -- Anita Brookner, Spectator --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Book details

  • PDF | 226 pages
  • Mary McCarthy(Author)
  • William Heinemann Ltd; First Edition edition (Dec. 1957)
  • English
  • 5
  • Other books

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Review Text

  • By Mrs. ME Richardson on 13 January 2011

    I recently had reason to look this book up on Amazon and was astonished to discover that it had only one, very negative, customer review.I read the book 50 years ago when it was first published and thought it was brilliant. Everything I have heard or read about it since then leads me to believe that my opinion is widely shared and that it has become a classic of its genre.McCarthy's experiences may not be unique but the way she describes them is.

  • By Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso' on 17 January 2015

    There is ice at the heart of this book. It stems from the orphaned Mary's coldly grieving non-Catholic (Jewish) grandmother (grief that shades into grievance) and from the Catholicism of the time. 'Equality was a species of unfairness which the good sisters of St. Joseph would not have tolerated.' This coldness - she would probably say froideur - makes the author very hard to like, which may explain why this is a book, like Stefan Zweig's Die Welt von Gestern or any of Arthur Schnitzler, that I didn't get on with AT ALL so many years ago; now I'm a confirmed McCarthyite I thought I'd give it another whirlThese eight brief essays in transmuted memory ('faction') mainly first saw the light in The New Yorker. They're bigged up with rather tedious tailnotes 'setting the record straight' (confessing the liberties taken with the truth); who really cares? Honesty without humour (though who knew this celebrity intellectual was once a cheerleader?). No child finds his life funny, but the adult Mary conceivably might have. In a tortuous 22-page preamble she depicts her younger self as frankly not very nice at all; even her adult self she categorizes as 'haughty'. 'Only good people can afford to be religious', she opines. Like me (or Shelley) she wouldn't go to Heaven if asked and would be unhappy there if corralled. A monster of egotism, no doubt, but so bright - the closest the anglosphere has to a Simone de Beauvoir - one cannot but pay attention; her actual loss of faith, round about page 97, is electrifyingMaybe a recovering Catholic, like a recovering alcoholic, simply can't see the humour? Taking her first Communion in what she believed to be a state of mortal sin, 'only God and I would know the real facts', as Mary puts it; somehow neither pathos nor ridicule are evoked, only cold calculation. The zany responses these memoirs provoked on serial publication from priests and laity alike (see preface) are possibly the best thing about them. 'You have already found [your spiritual home] although you still must seek it'? Very Zen!

  • By B.UK Worm on 31 July 2007

    This book was far to verbose & tedious to be enjoyable. It only covered about 9 years of Mary's life, and then more about her aging relatives than her, hardly a childhood. Anyone expecting scandalous or even startling revelations will be disappointed. Mary even says that many of her readers have contacted her to say their childhoods were just like hers, which comes as no surprise as it is very typical, mundane and possibly like hundreds of childhoods of this era, but unlike Mary they've not felt compelled to bore other's with it. Unless you want to impress your friends with a new diction then don't bother purchasing this book, and if curiosity has got the better of you, borrow it from the library.

  • By Ms. Amanda P. Blondel on 1 November 2013

    my lecturer suggested I get this to help ;me complete my statement for my MA, so far it is a good read cool


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