'Angela's Ashes,' written in Milford, among books targeted for ban in Florida

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Conservative groups in Florida want to ban from the state's public schools "Angela's Ashes," a Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir written by the late Frank McCourt while he lived in Milford.

The Florida Citizens Alliance and It’s Your Tea Party Florida have included "Angela's Ashes" among 100 novels and textbooks that it wants banned from public school classrooms and libraries. One advocate of the ban said "Angela's Ashes," required reading in AP English courses, "includes alcoholism, marital infidelity, abandonment, promiscuity, and masturbation."

"I think it is designed to pervert our children’s minds against family values — values which, I believe, make up a majority of parents’ views in our community," said the advocate about McCourt's memoir and other books taught in Florida, including "The Bluest Eye" and "Beloved" by Toni Morrison, "The Women of Brewster’s Place" by Gloria Naylor, "Dreaming in Cuban" by Cristina Garcia, and "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin, plus textbooks like Harcourt Publishing’s Modern World History 9th Grade and Pearson’s Essentials of Oceanography.

In 1994, McCourt married Ellen Frey on the banks of the Delaware River in Milford. They adopted their dog, Rory, from the local humane society. It was Frey who urged McCourt, a noted raconteur in New York City's East Village, to put his stories down in writing.

"Angela's Ashes" was published in 1996 and won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. McCourt writes about his family's struggles with poverty during his childhood in Limerick, Ireland. The book was made into a movie in 1999.

A 2017 Florida Law lets residents challenge school books. The conservative groups have been lobbying Gov. Ron DeSantis and several state lawmakers.

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