Michael Patrick MacDonald

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Michael Patrick MacDonald was born and raised in Southie, what he calls “the greatest place to live.” While he may have been able to look towards the bright side and find the good in Southie, this is not something that many people can do. Southie is the area with the highest concentration of impoverished whites in the United States, with eighty five percent of its residents living in extreme poverty. With sky-high crime rates and the fact that there is nowhere that will be completely safe, Southie seems a terrible place to live for outsiders. In All Souls, MacDonald provides the reader with first hand experiences, showing us what it is like to live in Southie, and what it means to call it home. MacDonald provides a unique “slice of life” picture of Boston through taking his own horrifying experiences and explaining what it is he learned from them, how they made him a stronger person, the person he is today. Upon describing the death of his oldest brother Davey, he says: “It was almost a relief to know the truth, to know that he wanted it that bad, that he was in so much pain that he was able to do something that most of us could never go through with, no matter how bad things were” (154). Instead of just stating the facts of the death, he tells us how it made him feel, and his own personal reactions to it. He shows how his life was affected by events that occurred around him, giving us a new perspective of life there. We can see that although life is hard and every day is a struggle, when you push through the learning process, you will come out a changed person. MacDonald painted a picture of Boston through his sharing of personal experience. Much of the book is told as a narrative of his life, as seen through his eyes. We see Boston as he saw Boston. He says: “We all wanted to be part of something big, and the feeling of being part of the antibusing movement along with the rest of Southie had been the best feeling in the world” (118). He shows Boston as an area...
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