Customer Reviews for

All Souls: A Family Story from Southie

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Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 52 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2003

    THANK YOU MICHAEL PATRICK MACDONALD

    Thank you to Michael Patrick MacDonald for having the strength to write this book. You are truly an inspiration. This is an awesome piece of American History and I urge everyone to read this powerful book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2002

    Brutal honesty

    MacDonald's book is written with the brutal honesty of someone who has been in the eye of the storm. He took on a subject that is often a dirty word - Class.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2002

    A great story!

    I thought this book was absouletly amazing! The author did an excellent job writting it while going through an emotional rollercoaster!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    Fighting Irish

    An amazing tale of courage, patience, luck, loyalty and family. The author adds more depth to the phrase Fighting Irish. Having read Angela's Ashes and 44 Dublin made me; I assumed that this would be a re-write of those great books. I was so very mistaken! Michael Patrick MacDonald's writing cuts clear to the bone. His story and survival are amazing. If you have never heard about Southie you must read this. This is Southie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2002

    Southie!

    After reading this book I could relate to it because I myself am from Boston and I know how it is to grow up in the economy. Michael is a great writter and had great detail in it also! Oh yeah And Michael Patrick Mac Donald Is Sexy!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2001

    Good Ol' Southie

    Growing up just outside Boston, you hear of the struggles in the urban neighborhoods of the city. Even with this knowledge I was unprepared to read of the trauma suffered by one family and the code of silence (fear) throughout the community that only served to perpetuate the drugs and violence that plagued the streets. I began reading the book on the bus on the way to work one morning and could not put it down. Despite a 10-hour work day, I finished the entire book just after midnight. A truly engrossing book. I live a mere five blocks from MacDonald's childhood street, and driving past it conjures vivid thoughts of life in the Old Colony projects.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2001

    VERY GOOD BOOK

    This book was full of triumph and drama. I loved this novel in and out, it never became boring. I hope Michael MacDonald would write another!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2001

    This book will both haunt and inspire you!

    I bought All Souls shortly after reading Angela's Ashes, expecting to read the U.S. version of Frank McCourt's saga, that of an Irish family living in poverty. But All Souls was a story even more compelling. MacDonald's story leaves nothing out - the victims of Southie's crime, drugs and violence are given names, faces, and families. The reader will be rivited to each and every story, hoping for every victim's eventual happy ending. But happy endings in Southie are few and far between - with the exception of the author's. Though his life was marred by tragedy, Michael Patrick MacDonald is a survivor whose experiences have made him the compassionate advocate that he has become. The book's conclusion is inspirational. MacDonald is a brave man to have written such a brutally honest book. This is a book you will not want to put down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2001

    You will not want to put it down!

    I grew up in another section of Boston at the same time as the older kids in the family. My grandparents were from Ireland also but somehow we ended up in one of the 'tonier' neighborhoods. When I finished the book, I studied the pictures for a while and then read the first chapter over and then the last few pages again. It could have easily have been my family.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2000

    the appling truth of 'Souhtie'

    Micheal Patrick McDolnd gave me a amazing veiw into southie life. How the code slince worked, to the busing riots. It shows nut the people southie where. From hang with whitey Bulger himself to sniffing mounds of coke and all the drug use. MUST READ BOOK!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2000

    ALL SOULS

    I'm gonna keep this short for lack of time but this is the best book I have ever read PERIOD. It captures you and never lets go. You feel the hurt of losing a sibling or child. You can't put it down. As an adult male I don't cry in books or movies but this truly touched me. BUY IT.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2000

    THE VIEW FROM UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

    Having been born and raised in a safer, but similar, Irish-American neighborhood, I had always resented the depictions of the poor and working-class rendered by gentrified suburbanite observers. These sociological studies reduce the residents to statistics, silence their voices and imply that they are incapable of comprehending their own conditions. Michael Patrick MacDonald is, indeed, an 'insider!' In 'All Souls:' the author painstaking takes you on a tour of not only the Old Colony projects, but of his heart, mind and soul. The MacDonald Family lived in a place ignored by mainstream America, a place insulated from societal values and pressures of propriety. Surviving was a sufficient goal, and any means to achieve that end was accepted. The means, i.e., drugs, violence, apathy and silence, ultimately eroded the ability to attain the desired end, and the community was launched on a pathway to destruction. Busing, and its attendant racial integration, became the proverbial straw: the only remaining cohesion in this community, its ethnic pride, was being trampled by authorities that viewed the residents with scorn and disdain. This is the time and place that Michael Patrick MacDonald explores with you. He opens his Netherworld to you, and you are swept into knowing, feeling, crying, and asking yourself, 'How in God's name can we ignore this?' Mr. MacDonald has spoken for many, and may he be heard by many.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2000

    Moving, extraordinary

    Some say that the memoir field of writing has been overdone in recent years, but All Souls moved me in unexpected and penetrating ways. MacDonald has a power to move with language plain and true that is very rare. As one who grew up poor and white in America (although in a small mid-western town), I could empathize with the grinding povery of his childhood in Southie, but thank heavens I was spared the upheaval and violence that came to South Boston in the 1970's. What a wonderful voice he has and what a tribute to the memories of 'the kids'--the fallen members of the MacDonald clan. Perhaps a lesson we can learn from his story is that the poor of all races should work together toward justice in America because they are more united by class than they are divided by race. I only hope this is not the last we hear from Michael Patrick MacDonald.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2000

    life is tough

    great story took me back to my youth on the westside of chicago

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2000

    For The World's More Full Of Weeping.....

    What Mr. MacDonald lacks in terms of compelling and literate irony, evoked by the inevitable comparisons to Frank McCourt, he makes up for in deadpan accuracy, accessibility and earthy humanity. Macdonald¿s stark account of growing up in the insular urban neighborhood of ¿Southie¿ is a fascinating glimpse into a corner of American society that has hitherto been largely maligned, exploited and served up to feed an insatiable middle class appetite for illustrations of moral authority. Having myself grown up in a housing project (not far from Mr. MacDonald¿s) I can appreciate and immediately understand the images he evokes and the lines he draws in his story. And, by virtue of my experience, I have a deeper sense of the shadows that he has left out that give his story its fascinating and tragic power. Housing projects are pretty much the bottom rung of the ladder of America¿s so called classless social order. They are the places where people of little or no means scramble for limited resources. Elderly people with little or no family gather to live out the remainder of their days under siege by the local youth that seem to thrive on terrorizing the helpless. Young unwed mothers (many children themselves) gather to eke a life in the face of overwhelming deprivation. The density and preponderance of people afflicted with alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental illness add to an already palpable sense of entropy. The culture of violence, the disdain of the working class, the manipulations of politicians and gangsters, the inaccessible excess of a bustling and encroaching Downtown Boston all contribute to a volatile melting pot that marks its children in unpredictable ways. I do not know Mr. MacDonald personally, but after having read this book I can safely say that I know an essential part of him. I can almost envision his memories of family life in Old Colony. Of his siblings bustling in and out of the old heavy metal apartment door with its tiny peephole and massive brass lock, of its musical clanging of steam pipes and unregulated radiators oppressive heat. Of open windows letting in a comforting breeze and the accompanying sounds of barking dogs, breaking glass, screaming mothers and aggressive kids. I can see Michael sitting in his living room in the middle of this cacophony drinking it in to mask his feelings of affection, of love and terror of his helplessness as he watches his brothers being pulled by deeper currents than they know. In the end, All Souls is Michael¿s paean to his family. It is a singular act of love written with tender care with an effort to eschew the numbing sense of emotional distance (toughness) that we develop as a response to such an environment. It is a story about life and hope and meaning and the irrepressible urge of all of us to overcome the forces of destruction and chaos. Thanks for sharing, Michael.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2000

    A book to read if you think'you' had it tough!

    The book and Mr. Macdonald are amazing. After all he has seen and been part of in his life. And then to be able to write about it......If you have High school age children a must read for them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2000

    'The Best Place In The World'

    I'm an 18yr. old from Southie and grew up in the same project the author came from. I still live there today and am proud of were I come because I know that there is now were else like it and the people are 'true'. Southie is still in many ways the same as it was in the seventies and hope it keeps the pride it always has.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2000

    A true story

    I loved this book. Although a lot of it dealt w/ the politics of growing up in South Boston, it was the interaction between the family members that fascinated me. It was eerie to hear about Bridgewater Mental Hospital (I had been there in 1980 and visited some of the inmates w/ a friend of mine who was getting credits towards her college degree in social work) I will never forget my experience there. The book is so real, and I would love to know how the author found the strength to tell so many family secrets.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2000

    lisa from dorchester

    This book should become a manatory read for all high school students. I too was a product of busing. You put words to feelings that I haven't be able to. Some day I'd like to have a cup of coffee with you and exchange war stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2000

    An Irish 'Manchild in the Promise Land, big props for 'All Souls' from the other side

    I really enjoyed this book and consider it a must read for everyone, regardless of race. I am an African American, former Bostonian living in Atlanta. This book is frank about how Boston works. As a town where Blacks have no political clout and the Irish seem to have it all, it is no wonder that the MacDonalds, a family so bent on goofing off in school and with the law managed to get at least three boys in the highly coveted Latin School, a recent subject of a reverse discrimination lawsuit. I wondered as I read this book if the writer was aware of the affirmative action of which he and his family benefited with school assignments and project apartments. What's best about this tale is the honesty that for so long Black Bostonians ached to hear from anyone from South Boston. Growing up in this choas, I always felt that Boston's Black Community knew the truth about South Boston (the crime, drugs, alcholism and unwanted pregnacies) and we could never understand why in the world would anyone be so defensive over that place. We always considered it 'the worst place on earth'. We also knew, even before busing, that they hated us. And we hated Louise Day Hicks and Jim Kelly. This book helps to explain how the people of that ghetto were as Malcolm X put it 'hoodwinked, flimflamed and bambozzled' so that a gangester could exploit his own and his politician brother could maintain great power and control. I was a freshmen in High School during 'Phase I' of desegragation. Fortunately for me I was went from a Catholic grammar school to a Catholic High School and only had to deal with racial discord created throughout the city (as I had to travel on public transportation through Charlestown from Dorchester to Malden Catholic High). During this time I went to school with guys from Southie, mostly guys from the hill. We watched with disgust, but they would never admit the truth about South Boston. Finally, with Whitey Bulger on the run, someone can speak up.

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