[EPUB] ✺ Memories of a Catholic Girlhood By Mary McCarthy – Dailytradenews.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “Memories of a Catholic Girlhood

  1. says:

    RereadI first read this book in the early 80s in a university course on autobiography We read works that traced the history of the genre and ended with this book I remember reading Rousseau and enjoying him immensely, but I remember this most of all, perhaps because I was young and it spoke to some of my own experiences The only paper we wrote for the class was our own autobiography Though I no longer have the paper that s another story , I remember it distinctly Each of my siblings I have five was the focus of a chapter and the professor commented negatively on only one, saying I hadn t captured one brother as I had the others I agree he s always been the slipperiest.Earlier this month, after telling a friend the details of a project I m working on and how I planned on connecting some fictional sections I d written with nonfictional bits, she recommended I reread this I took her advice and was startled at how I had stolen some of McCarthy s technique Did I pull out this method from somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind Who knows I couldn t begin to figure out how many books I ve read or how many may have influenced me in one way or another Of course it s not an exact theft for only one difference, McCarthy sticks with first person throughout even though afterward she explains what s fictional, that is, what s not an exact memory.Times have changed since McCarthy wrote this, so her memoirs first published in magazines and then incorporated into this book are not as controversial as they would be now Times have also not changed In the opening chapter To the Reader, I am struck by the similarity of the hate mail McCarthy received to a type of online commenting of today The scurrilous letters from lay readers, mostly women, she says the priests and nuns who wrote to her were always gracious were so similar, she says, they could ve been written by one person frequently full of misspellings, though the person claimed to be educated all, without exception, menacing they attempt to constitute themselves a pressure group one even says she is sure what McCarthy has written is illegal.Since I read this for a different reason than I usually read a book, I m finding it hard to review Last night I happened to see a stray review of McCarthy with a low rating that just said she s no role model I feel that s missing the point but, if one wants to judge a work that way, I say this is an honest, brave, true to herself, well written account and we can all aspire to that.


  2. says:

    Overall, Memories of a Catholic Girlhood presents interesting snapshots of a child, then young adult s life being raised by relatives after the death of her parents An odd upbringing, but obviously, the only one she has to compare to in her life Mary McCarthy was only six years old when her parents decided to move from Seattle home of her mother s parents to Minneapolis home of her father s On the train trip, the entire family became ill with the flu and Mary s parents died This began her odyssey in search of herself and her place in her family families.The story is presented in somewhat fictionalized flashbacks, especially of the early years, based on her memories, with afterwords of corroborations or corrections of some details that arise out of discussions with her brothers with whom she shared the early years in Minneapolis The years in Seattle are all from Mary s memory and have only her editorial oversight as the boys were left behind by her grandfather Preston in Minnesota and she did not see them again for years.The title is, in some regards, a misnomer, as Mary fights off the Catholic title early on though it appears to still be part of her She describes the daily school routines of convent school before transferring to an Episcopalian High School with her Grandfather s agreement She becomes a very young atheist, adept at manipulating the various systems in which she must live, be it the Preston household, the convent school, the new high school or, apparently, adult life.I liked the sections where she steps back from the stories and assesses what she has written with an authorial eye a bit less passionately I think these sections help to make the whole gel completely and make sense when we do realize the youth of the original narrator.This is an interesting memoir, speaking of a long gone era but of some things that still occur today, unfortunately It has much to offer the right reader.An ecopy of this book was provided by NetGalley.


  3. says:

    2.5 stars The essays that make up Memories of a Catholic Girlhood are not particularly memorable, despite being written in McCarthy s wonderful, smart, smart prose The earlier vignettes about the loss of her parents to the 1918 flu pandemic, and her awful life in Minneapolis under the guardianship of a ham fisted aunt and uncle are fascinating, but once McCarthy moves back to the sheltered, quiet, rarified care of her grandparents in Seattle, her essays become less interesting and animated in turn.What makes this collection fascinating is not the essays but the analysis that follows each one Each essay was written for a magazine, and McCarthy frankly picks apart her own memory after sharing the original text, examining what she thinks she fabricated and why, and where she can t be sure what s truth and what s fiction As an insight into the process of creating prose, and the thin line between fact and fantasy, the analyses are compelling and instructional I feel like I learned about McCarthy from her dissection of her own writing than from the essays themselves.


  4. says:

    Mary McCarthy was such a delightful writer that I could read her writing about just about anything But what s most wonderful about this memoir of McCarthy s early life is the richness afforded by its structure In this volume McCarthy collected a set of autobiographical essays that she wrote in the late 40s and 50s, and knit them together with some connective tissue, notes to the reader in which she comments on the content and ruminates on the imprecise and unreliable nature of memory As such, the book gives you three Mary McCarthys the schoolgirl who is the subject, the memoirist who is writing about her, and the commentator who observes with distance and perhaps objectivity They are, respectively, a sort of id, ego, and superego.


  5. says:

    I admit that I wasn t sure I would like this book I put it on my To Read list after someone else gave it a good review, and I am not too sure I actually read the description before I did so.About 10 pages into it I realized that this book had the possibility to offend and anger me as a practicing Catholic I made a promise to myself that if I found myself getting upset I would drop it and move on.I was pleasantly surprised This is a very good autobiography that tackles the issue of losing faith without ever offending or mocking others.McCarthy finds a careful balance between sharing her personal story of life after her parents died during the flu epidemic in the first quarter of the 1900s and talking about the pivotal moment when she went from devout Catholic to atheist.I found it very interesting and extremely well written She wrote this autobiography in the 1950s well into adulthood I enjoyed the italicized parts at the end of each chapter explaining what she filled in with fiction and what she was certain to be true It was a very interesting way to read an autobiography This is something authors should take time to do really.It s worth a read, but she is certainly wordy and references a lot of Latin and Greek literature I would say some knowledge of the classics is necessary to understand parts of the book She does an excellent job of talking about them without seeming pretentious or like she is trying too hard.


  6. says:

    What s most interesting about this memoir is how McCarthy takes all the choices she makes as a memoirist and subjects them to scrutiny She talks about the temptation to fictionalise, the dubious reliability of memory, the reasons to include or exclude information, the implications for truthtelling of shaping life events and memories into a coherent narrative, the compromises and failures inherent in the form Quite fascinating.


  7. says:

    I first read this in a house Mary McCarthy visited, her Vassar 33 classmate s at Westport Harbor, a grand house with glazed bookshelves containing classics and McCarthy s Group, which included the hostess as one of the characters This autobiography appalled and delighted me, a collection of humans almost like a zoo I read it in a grand corner room above the library, with a few books like Lenin s Lettres sa famille, and with Cambodian bow for the hunt over the fireplace, bow windows overlooking a non archery foxhunt The hunt took place over a turnip field that has since given rise to the giant home of a society architect who has a summer home a half mile down the road, on the beach Sheer genius to eliminate the travel distances between seasonal homes, though one may speculate that the seasonal change between homes may be well..fewer, and less dramatic.


  8. says:

    Mary McCarthy lost both of her parents to influenza within a week of each other as they were traveling to Minnesota to begin a new life She was shipped off at age 6 to live with her draconian aunt and uncle At 11, she was finally saved by wealthy grandparents in Seattle Fantastic, beautifully written memoir with sharp characterizations and told with rapier sharp wit.


  9. says:

    Going to the incomplete shelf Too many interruptions This is a classic style memoir with some great lyrical prose by McCarthy Her parents pass and the four children find themselves orphans Their grand aunt takes them in and the grand uncle is an abusive fool But throughout the book, Mary interrupts to explain scenes and her perception of what really did happen imagination or reality Huh I keep waiting to get to the real story here but with the interruptions, seems like I m reading two booksI ll try again later.


  10. says:

    McCarthy is a good storyteller and this is an easy, absorbing read Her relationships with women as she describe them here, especially her grandmothers and her schoolmates, are reflected in some of her later writings She has this odd combination of snobbery mean girl ism and sympathy insight She admits to her prejudices and failings, but doesn t really apologize for them, which is both annoying and refreshing.


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