Customer Reviews for

All Souls: A Family Story from Southie

Average Rating 5
( 43 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(39)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 3
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2001

    I Was Not Surprised

    If you've never met a white family like the McDonalds, this book is a must-read. If you have, you could probably take a pass. It's the classic man-bites-dog story. A white, Irish Catholic Boston single-parent welfare family, living in the projects? Imagine! The mother of this sorry family, Helen King, could easily have been the 'welfare queen' that Reagan beat us to death with in 1980. What he didn't say, was that ending welfare would have hurt whites more than to blacks, since, in sheer numbers, more whites are on welfare. But whites aren't automatically assumed to be on welfare, so they can blend in in small towns, suburbs and rural areas. As a rule, they're not in urban housing projects like the McDonalds were. As a black man who grew up middle class and has has met a wide range of people, I know that the welfare mentality knows no color. So this book's content wasn't a shock to me. What continues to amaze me is why certain people of every color make the choices that they do in partners. Why a woman like Helen King would have nine children by three ne'er-do-well men when it should have been plain to her that she could barely afford to take care of one on her own. Why she and millions of others in this free country, continue to elect and blindly follow 'leaders' who are only interested in lining their own pockets. And instead of playing the accordion in bars for change, why she didn't spend the time her family spent living in her father's house going to school and learning a skill so she could have gotten her kids off welfare!? And if she had wanted to, she could have done it much more easily than her black counterparts. White skin is a passport in this country. The smart whites use it. Those like Helen King cling to their 'ethnicity' like a ragged security blanket, forgetting that in the United States, it doesn't matter where in Europe they came from; white's white. Take an accent-reduction class, Anglicize your name, and move on up. Don't like it? Starve. And the best part is, if you're a really brainy white person, you can get to the top without changing your accent or your name. Sweet, huh? So my sympathies lay with the children in this book who don't know any other lifestyle, who think that a place where they're allowed to run around like wild animals and have unlimited access to drugs and guns is 'the best place in the world' and that anyone darker than a paper bag is beneath them. For their sakes, I can only hope that they are eventually exposed to people of color with lawns to mow and taxes to pay, and who live in fear of a family like the McDonalds moving onto the next block, let alone next door.

    6 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A MUST READ! GREAT FOR BOOK CLUBS!

    Thank you Michael Patrick MacDonald for having the strength to write this book. I can't believe you lived to tell this story. You are truly an inspiration. This is an awesome piece of American History and I urge everyone to read this powerful book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    Outrageous

    I have never reviewed a book before but I had to share this one with everyone. I read alot of true stories, this one is the best. The way it is written, it really holds your attention. I'm not just saying this, it truly is hard to put down.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    Courage In Writing

    I just finished this book for my book club. I grew up on the North Shore of Boston, protected by the suburban lifestyle. We always heard about the stories from Southie. Only a half hour away from Boston my mother would NEVER let us venture into Boston alone. Still, living in the North Shore had its share of similarities. I grew up in an Irish Catholic town and although we didn't have the violence encountered in All Souls, we had the drugs and the intense racism. After leaving the area and traveling, I never really talked about the area I grew up in, I had grown to become embarresed about it because it was so, and it still, racist (openly) and over run by drugs now it seems. It seemed so ghetto to me, so uncultured and blue collared. I couldn't even imagine what it must have been like in Southie. And yet here I stand, embarressed to talk about the insignificant town I grew up in, and the problems I had there, while Michael is able to recount his whole life in Southie for the world to read. He has guts. I will still opt to remain anonymous. Courage, courage, courage.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2005

    Such a touching book

    I saw both sides of the culture clashes when I was growing up in the 1970's. I went to both a lower class neighborhood school, and an upper class private Catholic school. I am the same age as Michael McDonald's siblings, the twins, Mary and Joe, born in 1958. I related so much to many parts of this book, and thought it was so wonderful that I have bought a copy of it although had originally checked it out from the library. I would recommend this to anyone in social work, teaching, suicide survivors, recovering addicts and alcoholics, and anyone wanting to relate to family and relationship issues in any way. It's just a great read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2005

    A+ work!

    Hands down one of the best memoirs I have read in years. Truely compelling. At times I felt so bad for his family. It is such a shame that this still goes on in America. But this is a good eye opener for some.A must read for all fans of Irish-American history. I wish the author all the luck in the world.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2005

    All Souls

    Thank you Michael MacDonald for having the courage to piece together so many painful memories in order to create All Souls. No book has ever touched me like this. You are a true inspiration to all oppressed people looking for hope. All Souls has helped me in my healing/recovery and given me insight into the place where my grandparents emmigrated to, South Boston. Thank you again.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2014

    Highly recommended.  Gripping!!  Excellent Writing!!!

    Highly recommended.  Gripping!!  Excellent Writing!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2009

    Couldn't put it down but...

    Michael MacDonald has written a gripping story of poverty and family dysfunction. The book is a briskly paced "quick read" that makes excellent use of dialogue and grabs the reader with one tragedy after another. On the negative side, McDonald's descriptive powers are not strong. The look and feel of the Old Colony project and South Boston generally are not conjured very well. You don't smell the sea air or the exhaust fumes from Old Colony Ave. Also, the book lacks nuance. Less black and white thinking would have, at least in my opinion, made the book more truly interesting rather than just dramatic. MacDonald's thesis that suburban white liberals, gangsters, and politicians were the cause of his family's problems is very simplistic. Certainly mental illness was a bigger factor. Giving the book the title "All Souls" is misleading as religion seems to have played a minor role in the lives of the MacDonald family. The subtitle "A Family Story from Southie", too, is misleading. The family was messed up before they moved to "Southie." Even then, they just barely lived in South Boston since the Old Colony project is very near Dorchester rather than deep into S.B. One more thing -- as MacDonald himself points out it is important to note that his story is about POOR people, not working class or blue collar people. There is a big difference between the two. Many middle class suburbanites don't seem to know this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    Great book..

    This book was great. growing up in a suburb of boston i could relate to the 1970's political issues and also growing up in that same time-frame. very sad at times, but definately a good read..

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    I can't believe that these kids made it out of Southie! The author took a seeminly hopeless existance and added the sense of pride he felt from growing up there so that the reader felt both emotions. God Bless them!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2005

    A MUST READ

    This was a truly compelling story. This should be a must read for all high school students to realize the dangers that lie out there and how they may affect all of our lives.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2004

    An amazing story

    I loved this book so much I read it twice, and I NEVER read books twice. It's amazing that a world the author created actually existed. This book is by far one of my most famous books of all time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2004

    AWESOME CHOICE FOR YOUR BOOK CLUB

    We read this book for our most recent book club discussion. Everyone loved it! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 3