All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Patrick MacDonald MAG

March 26, 2010
By Sequoia Dooley BRONZE, Wrentham, Massachusetts
Sequoia Dooley BRONZE, Wrentham, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Feet pounding on the pavement. Mothers screaming for their children. Chants and jeers coming from the rowdy crowd. Rocks shattering vehicle windows. Policemen's ­merciless clubs colliding with people's skulls. This is a riot scene from a phenomenal book, All Souls.

Here, narrator and author Michael Patrick MacDonald gives the world a glimpse of what South Boston, or “Southie,” is like from the point of view of an insider. The story begins with Michael, as an adult, remembering the children who died in the violence, drugs, and suicides of Southie for a number of years.

MacDonald then begins to remember his childhood as “the greatest place on Earth,” which is what his mother calls Southie before four of her beloved children die. Michael is the seventh of 11 children born to Helen King MacDonald; he is a quiet boy who watches three of his brothers die, is there when one of his sisters goes into a coma, and sees countless others lose loved ones in the tragedy that surrounds Southie.

I would give this heartbreaking novel a ten. MacDonald made me both chuckle and shed tears by relating all the painful details and misfortunes, while making them bearable with dashes of humor. In addition, I could relate to the characters so much that I felt as though they were my family.

Without a doubt, All Souls is a phenomenal book; I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a challenge.


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