A little bonus for your reading pleasure, this is the 2d through 4th paragraphs of the opening chapter of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. Few book openings have been so captivating to me or so clearly set the course of what was to come, with both tragedy and humor evident throughout.
"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived 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.
People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying schoolmasters; the English and the terrible things they did to us for eight hundred long years.
Above all - we were wet."