My Days of Anger by James T. Farrell

My Days of AngerAfter first being introduced to James T. Farrell after reading The Studs Lonigan Trilogy in  January 2011, I put him high up on the literary pedestal.  Farrell made it under my Christmas tree and was opened with as much excitement as that special gift a child requests from the old man up North.

Alas, it was not the book I longed for and surprisingly was published after the trilogy so I thought it would potentially surpass it in quality.  I kept hoping it would improve, but it seemed to maintain the whining tone of an unsure young man finding his way in the world.  I get that this was what is was supposed to portray, however, I found it tiresome and dull.  Such a prolific writer can’t be expected to hit them all out of the park and I will certainly not let this one turn me against Mr. Farrell.

I’d love to talk politics with this man and perhaps Mr. Farrell would share some stories of his involvement in the Workers’ Party.  How does one produce such volumes of work astounds me and I hope I’d get to know more about his processes.

A young Irish Catholic man growing up in Chicago watches his family and friends struggle financially and is determined not to meet the same fate.  He works at a gas station to put himself through college and fights to resist the urges of life on the streets.

Danny O’Neill, Farrell’s likely alter ego struggles to get an education to fulfill his dream of becoming a writer.  He watches his family suffer financially and does not want to be destined to live that same life.  He faces class distinction at work, at school and understands more clearly the struggles of his relatives.  His religious upbringing instills much guilt and prevents him from straying too far from the moral high ground, yet he eventually denounces his faith and is determined to become a writer.

Uncle to Danny, Al O’Flaherty is a hardworking man, supporting an extended family and trying to mentor and encourage his much-loved nephew.  He too enjoys reading, but his approach to literary discussion falls on the deaf ears of a sullen young man.

Ed Lanson, a local young man has returned from the sea amid rumors that his departure drove a local girl to suicide.  He is a fast talker and always looking to make a quick buck with some questionable acts.  He is always ready for a fight and seems to act as protector to Danny.

My rating for My Days of Anger is a 7 out of 10.

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Next up, John Dos Passos’ Three SoldiersThree Soldiers


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