All Souls Book Review Essay

987 Words Nov 3rd, 2006 4 Pages
All Souls: A Family Story From Southie

By Micheal Patrick MacDonald. (Ballentine Books under The Random House Publishing Corporation, 1999, 266pp. $14.00)

Michael Patrick MacDonald saw hatred animated on a Friday in the early days of October. Some people were reading the newspaper in brightly lit kitchens. Some children were coloring with brightly hued crayons. Some fathers were getting into cars in front of their beautiful homes. But there were no crayons, bright kitchens, or fathers in nice cars on Dorchester Street in Southie that day. Only the cruelest manifestation of blind hatred. Michael Patrick MacDonald was an innocent child when he stood only feet away from a black man who was having the life literally beaten from his
…show more content…
In a ‘He was a good man underneath all of that rage' sort of fashion, he exposes Southie's grave and serious problems, all the while maintaining that it was "the best place in the whole world."

We tend to marginalize the poor, the destitute, the food stamp and welfare recipients among us. We like to pretend that they are not there, much like the residents of Southie liked to pretend that the violence and anger and tragedy in Southie weren't there. We like to try to compartmentalize this part of our own society, this very real set of people who still live in our towns. Who mourn their dead at our churches, who lower them into the ground in our cemeteries, who hand food stamps to the cashier at our grocery stores. We have all been guilty of it. How could we not be? How could we really grasp, realize, come to terms with, comprehend such an alien life? Michael Patrick MacDonald is our translator. He relays the past as Southie has written it on his heart. He hands it to us in a language we might better understand. MacDonald opens the door and invites us to sit down at his Southie dinner table. To lie on a mattress on the floor next to him and his brothers. To come to the hospital and watch Ma MacDonald beat the daylights out of a man who didn't value her family as much as she did. To stand inside the sterile green walls at Mass Mental. To trade stories with all the Southie kids about who had a connection to Whitey Bulger. To
Open Document