They Cage the Animals at Night: The True Story of an Abandoned Child's Struggle for Emotional Survival

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The heartbreaking, iconic true story of an abandoned little boy’s horrific journey through the American foster care system.

On a misty evening in Brooklyn, Jennings Michael Burch’s mother, too sick to care for him, left her eight-year-old son at an orphanage with the words, “I’ll be right back.” She wasn’t.

Shuttled through a bleak series of foster homes, orphanages, and institutions, Jennings never remained in any of them long enough to make a friend. Instead, he clung to a tattered stuffed animal named Doggie, his sole source of comfort in a frightening world.

Here, in his own words, Jennings Michael Burch reveals the abuse and neglect he experienced during his lost childhood. But while his experiences are both shocking and devastating, his story is ultimately one of hope—the triumphant tale of a forgotten child who somehow found the courage to reach out for love, and found it waiting for him.
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About the author

Jennings Michael Burch was the author of the bestselling autobiography They Cage the Animals at Night. He worked as a New York City policeman, a chauffeur, a theater manager, a magazine pressman, and a short-order cook. He held a B.A. in forensic psychology from John Jay College. He passed away in 2013.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Oct 1, 1985
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781101659892
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Abuse / Child Abuse
Family & Relationships / Adoption & Fostering
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestseller, Angela’s Ashes is Frank McCourt’s masterful memoir of his childhood in Ireland.

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy—exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling—does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.

Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.

Angela’s Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt’s astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.
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