by Daniel Patrick Delaney
Readers moved by Frank McCourt's memoir about his Irish childhood, Angela's Ashes, will welcome our latest release — Mary's Last: Tales of an Irish-American Orphan by Daniel Patrick Delaney. Like McCourt's book, Delaney's memoir is told from a child's perspective as a boy tries to make sense of the world around him — and his place in it. Written in luminous, lyrical prose, Mary's Last is a stunning achievement from a first-time author. The memoir is an inspiring story of survival and courage in the face of harrowing and even horrifying circumstances.
The story begins in Philadelphia during March 1963, when Mary Delaney dies of the Asian Flu — leaving behind eight children, including her "last," Danny, just 19 months old. With a dead mother and deadbeat father, the Delaney children are scattered to different family members — and Danny winds up with his Aunt Kate and Uncle Lenny in a house crammed with nine other children. Plain Kate had always envied her beautiful sister Mary — and now takes out her resentment on Danny, finding an endless variety of ways to make him pay.