Singing My Him Song

Singing My Him Song

4.6 20
by Malachy McCourt

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Malachy McCourt, bestselling author of A Monk Swimming, shares the extraordinary story of how he went from living the headlong and heedless life of a world-class drunk to becoming a sober, loving father and grandfather, still happily married after thirty-five years.

Bawdy and funny, naked and moving, told in the same inimitable voice that left

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Malachy McCourt, bestselling author of A Monk Swimming, shares the extraordinary story of how he went from living the headlong and heedless life of a world-class drunk to becoming a sober, loving father and grandfather, still happily married after thirty-five years.

Bawdy and funny, naked and moving, told in the same inimitable voice that left readers all over the world wondering what happened next in A Monk Swimming, Singing My Him Song is "told with the frankness and honesty for which McCourt has become renowned" (New York Daily News).

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
...I found the audio version of Malachy McCourt's subsequent Singing My Him Song to be wonderful.
San Francisco Chronicle
A highly entertaining book with some great moments.
Boston Globe
You might want to give Malachy's work a good leaving alone unless you're willing to have others gawk at you as you laugh out loud at the world he offers up as well as the life he has lived, loaded down with fun.
New York Times
Outrageous and comic.
Philadelphia Inquirer
A rollicking good read that, as the Irish say, would make a dead man laugh.
Until his brother Frank turned the family moniker into a brand name in the late 1990s, Malachy McCourt spent most of his life trying to parlay Irish bonhomie and a gift for the gab into something approaching a living. His latest memoir, unlike 1998's A Monk Swimming, has a more sober and contemplative tone. Here the maverick McCourt brother recounts years spent working as a professional barkeep in New York, playing a professional barkeep on a soap opera and turning both a Gotham talk-radio studio and a Chicago theater into, well, barrooms. Since a fondness for whiskey is an occupational hazard that comes with a lifelong career dispensing the bottle, McCourt tells his often sad tales of urban adventure and familial abandonment (both suffered and perpetuated) with the self-deprecating humility of someone with a long history of attending twelve-step programs. In the end, this memoir is an involving and funny story of an ordinary Irish lad with show-biz dreams and old-country demons. The bitter knowledge of failure is what gives this McCourt much of his wisdom and wit.
—Chris Jones

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"If ever there was an unexamined life on this earth," says Malachy McCourt, "it was mine." No more. In this sequel to his memoir A Monk Swimming, McCourt examines his every itch and scratch. These confessions of "a recovering Catholic" are written with obvious anguish and great personal insight, but in public view the insights often become clich s: the mea culpa of a charming Irish alcoholic, womanizer and deadbeat dad who recounts, in an enchanting brogue, the violence, irresponsibility, self-righteousness and self-pity engendered by his childhood of poverty and despair. Though the abridgment lacks smooth transitions and the author has a habit of dropping his voice at the ends of lines, this will surely become a popular recording for most listeners. For McCourt knows how to tell a story, how to read his lyrical sentences and how to get the most out of his rich, sardonic humor. Based on the HarperCollins hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 18). (Sept.) n Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In his second memoir, actor and rogue McCourt overcomes alcoholism, cancer, family problems, and more, and in the end, admits to enjoying his tumultuous life. His "gift of the tongue" creates charming phrases, e.g., the "nattering insistent voice of alcoholism" made him "the man who gave good intentions a bad name." With Irish charm and humor his reading of these lively stories adds a dimension denied his popular printed books. Some profanity and a few criticisms of Catholicism will rankle the pious, as did the famed Angela's Ashes by his brother Frank. McCourt is his own person, from a whimsical Micawber dodging creditors to a liberal radio talk show host exposing corruption, especially Nixon's. Government investigators assumed he was an illegal immigrant (he was born in Brooklyn). Often unemployed, the author deplores this hazard most actors suffer. Warmly recommended for open-minded adults. Gordon Blackwell, Eastchester, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Tom Deignan
Malachy McCourt's new memoir Singing My Him Song picks up where his best seller A Monk Swimming left off. As the old saying goes, you'll laugh and you'll cry, right along with Malachy, as we follow the actor/raconteur from Hollywood to Broadway, as he boozes, befriends famous men, and bucks the system.
Irish America
Kirkus Reviews
Lg. Prt.: 0-06-019721-8 Raconteurial outings, beery and otherwise, from a professional Irishman. Malachy, the lesser talent of the McCourt brothers—his McKibben, Bill LONG DISTANCE: A Year of Living Strenuously Simon & Schuster (192 pp.) Dec. 2000

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Part One
Behind Bars

On Sunday afternoons in 1963, the summer I worked in a Hamptons hostelry called the Watermill, myself and assorted staff would adjourn to the beach, armed with a largish cooler chock-full of ice, vodka, and orange juice. One of our number, Dan Cohalan, did a creditable Job with the guitar, and, as we knew a reasonable number of songs with choruses, we were able to gather quite a number of children around to join in, and their parents were delighted to have us in loco parentis so they could go off walking, swimming, or having affairs in the dunes.

What a joy it was to hear forty or fifty silvery six- and seven-year-old voices raised in bawdy song, and sung with as much conviction as if they knew what they were singing:

Oh, I've got a cousin Daniel,
And be's got a cocker spaniel,
If you tickled him in the middle,
He would lift his leg and piddle.
Did you ever see,
Did you ever see,
Such a funny thing before?
D' ye know my Auntie Anna,
And she's got a grand piana,
Which she rams, aram, arama,
'Til the neighbors say, "God damn her!"

I taught them the occasional limerick, as well.

Rosalina, a pretty young lass,
Had a truly magnificent ass,
Not rounded and pink,
As you possibly think,
It was grey, bad long ears, and ate grass.

I can only assume that the parents never asked to hear the new repertoire the silvery-voiced little ones brought home from their sandy Sunday school.

Not a few adults Joined us, too, as we were the jolliest gathering on that strand. Two very attractive young women, Louise Arnold and Lynn Epstein, plunked themselvesdown on the sand at Cohalan's invitation, and soon became regulars. They revealed that they had produced some Off Broadway shows, which sparked my interest. I was of a mind to get serious about the acting trade, due to my newfound penchant for suffering.

It depends on where you are in life, I suppose, but some people think that to be a great actor it's necessary to be entirely miserable, and if misery is the grandest qualification, then it was, Move over, Burton, Olivier, and Gielgud--McCourt is on the way.

Sundays were not a joy unalloyed, as every child singing there might suddenly remind me of my own two, who seemed lost to me forever. That summer, my estranged wife, Linda, had informed me that she was going off to Mexico to divorce me. We'd been separated for two years by then, but occasional bouts of blind optimism had led me to believe that it would somehow all work out.

"What about the children?" I had asked her.

"What about them?" she asked. "We never did have anything resembling a marriage, so don't be a hypocrite and pretend we were a family." She spoke truth, but that didn't make me feel any better about it.

One Sunday, when it was too hot to sing, my morbid contemplations were knocked right out of my head, at least for a time. I was enthroned beneath my protective umbrella (this because I have skin which, when exposed to the sun, makes the common beet seem albino), when out of nowhere there hove into my purview the most astonishingly beautiful and graceful woman I'd ever seen in all my life and travels. She had rich brown hair and striking almond-shaped eyes. She wore a modest white bathing suit and, as she stepped along the water's edge on her long lithe legs, the water glinting with sunlight behind her, her slim body and swanlike neck seemed to sway in time to music. Upon her right hip there was perched like a koala bear a bright-faced, blond-haired child in the two-year old range.

It never occurred to me to think that the presence of a child might imply that there was a husband somewhere; in that moment I was so absolutely smitten that I couldn't conceive that any obstacles might stand between me and this vision.

I don't know how long it took me to realize I wasn't breathing, but a huge exhalation brought me back from near drowning on dry land. Turning to the nearest body on the beach, who happened to be Louise Arnold, I gasped the question, "Who in God's name is that vision walking toward us?"

"That's my friend, Dee, who's visiting me this weekend," sez she.

I was flabbergasted that a mere human being would know this celestial creature.

"I must meet her " said I, "and would you be kind enough to do the introductory honors." Louise was amenable, as she was quite the hand at matchmaking. "Dee!" she called out.

"Would you come here for a sec?"

"Dee" came striding over, a so somewhat bemused expression on her lovely face. Silenced by the presence of such beauty, I could only extend my own paw to shake her soft hand. The brain and the tongue had disconnected at once, and anything Ithought of saying seemed stupid and banal. Finally, I managed to rasp out a "How do you do?" though my tongue felt inert.

Dee sat down and, as I'm not fond of nicknames or dimmutives, I ascertained that Diana was her proper name. So Diana she was to me, although old friends and family still call her Dee. I mumbled something about it being a nice day. She agreed. A bit of silence, then I tried again, "A bit too hot, though " She agreed again. An agreeable woman, she was.

Shortly, Diana excused herself, and off down the beach she went, and I was left feeling like a complete ass. "By Christ, McCourt," I said to myself, "for all yer gift of the tongue, for all your much-vaunted charm and gallantry, you couldn't trot out the treasure trove of complimentary clichés you keep on hand in case of being caught without something to say?"

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