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Frank McCourt, the eldest child of Malachy and Angela McCourt, is the narrator of the story. He is raised in poverty but this does not diminish his good spirits since he has never known life to be any different. When his twin brothers die in infancy, he is too young to understand what has happened. Attenting Leamy's National School, he makes friends easily and gets involved in a number of schoolboy pranks, but he is also mocked by the other boys for his climsily repaired shoes, which reveal his poverty. The boys make up contemptuous jingles about him. Frank also has health problems; he catches typhoid fever and nearly dies, and later he develops severe conjunctivities. Despite these setbacks, he excels at school. On the advice of the headmaster, Frank's mother tries to have FRank enrolled in the CHristian Brothers School in order to continue his education, but he is turned down; there are few educational opportunities from the "lanes," the slum districts of Limerick. Frank is not dissapointed because he wants to leave school and earn money. He is immensely proud of himself when he gets some odd jobs and brings home money for his mother. As Frank enters adolescence, he has a first love affair with a dying girl, and he learns more of the tradegies of his world when he sees his mother begging for food and also observes the pitiful conditions of some of the people he encounters in his job delivering teegrams. Finally, he saves enough money to fulfill his long held dream of emigrating to America.