Book Review: A FULL HOUSE – BUT EMPTY by Angus Munro

Angus Munro
249 pages

Filled with anecdotes, lessons learned, and an inspirational message for everyone who believes that hard work breeds success, this moving autobiography shares the remarkable story of Angus Munro.

Munro is just three when he suffers from appendicitis and spends several weeks in a Vancouver hospital as his family struggles to survive the Great Depression. After finally arriving home, Munro asks his sister, “Where is Mummy?” and is promptly told his mother doesn’t live there anymore. It is this traumatic event that changes the course of Munro’s life forever. His father is suddenly a single parent while simultaneously turning into Munro’s mentor and hero. He teaches Munro the motto, “Always do the right thing,” while raising his children in an environment that is at the very least hectic, and more often completely chaotic.

Through a potpourri of chronological and heartfelt tales, Munro reveals how he learned to view incidents in life in terms of responsibility, recognition, personal conduct, and consideration of others. Despite dropping out of school at a young age, Munro perseveres, eventually attaining professional success.

Munro’s memoir is a wonderful tribute to his father’s legacy and the greatest lesson of all – whatever you do, follow through.

Anyone who has ever had a parent leave them as a young child will be moved, deeply affected, and emotionally pulled into Angus Munro’s beautiful masterpiece, A Full House – But Empty. I know I was. From the very first page came tears. However, this isn’t a sad book; instead, it’s a book about a man who grew up in the Great Depression by a father whose wife was caught cheating and left the home without so much of a goodbye to little Angus (that’s the sad part), and also who beat the odds and turned out into a man with extraordinary integrity and morals. It is through the pages of his book that you lose yourself and you find yourself walking the same path and that’s what I believe the author wanted his readers to do.

At three-years-old, Angus was brought home from the hospital after having his appendix removed only to find out his mother had left his father to be with another man. The author says he was a shy child, but I didn’t see it. His journey from childhood to manhood only reaffirmed my belief that this was a very strong and extraordinary man and to relive his life through reading his book was such a pleasure, I would pick the book up and read it all over again.

His father played a major role at the beginning, then as Angus started spreading his wings, he became a minor role but I believe that it is because of his father, he turned out to become the man he is today. Angus recounts other members of his family throughout the book, and I believe his sister was the # 1 person in his life and became his rock.

What I really loved about this book was that it was was set in the Great Depression in the early beginnings of this book and it’s few authors alive today who can give a first-hand experience of what it was like back then and Angus does an excellent job of describing this.

Overall, I came away from the book satisfied, and am looking forward to the next Angus Munro memoir which is in the works. I would fully recommend this book to anyone who would like to slip back in time and relive a life when life was simpler; yet, so much harder than it is today.

Angus Munro’s writing style was what I loved the most about this book. As a past editor, I subconsciously look for typos and grammar errors and there were none to be found. Impeccably edited. I also loved the book because I found myself relating to a lot that was inside. I didn’t grow up in the Great Depression, but I remember my grandmother talking about it and it was a terrible, terrible time. And, I also had an absent mother some parts of my childhood (that’s the part where I cried). I also loved it because as he got older and moved to California, it brought back memories of living there with all the glitz the state had to offer. Angus’ book had a lot to offer me, but more than anything, it was an enjoyable read and not something I found myself forced to do. His words took me back in time and for that, I am deeply indebted to him. But aside from all that, what I loved the most about FULL HOUSE – BUT EMPTY is that I realized that Angus Munro is an extraordinary human being and at seventy-seven years old, this is a big accomplishment for a first-time author and for him to do this well in bringing me into the story and keeping me there and not wanting to let go, I say it says a lot about his future as an author.  This man is going to go far.

l wouldn’t call it hate, but what I would have loved to have seen was more about his life as a child; in fact, I would have loved the whole book set in the Great Depression as a child. With the economic times being as bad as they are and the country heading into a recession, wouldn’t it be neat to read about how those in the Great Depression survived so that maybe we can take pointers from them? But, if the whole book was only that, then a lot of the author’s message wouldn’t have come through and that’s a big part of why he wrote his book. But, I’m wondering…he has a new book in the works..maybe…maybe?


1 Comment

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One response to “Book Review: A FULL HOUSE – BUT EMPTY by Angus Munro

  1. lizzieb56

    This sounds really, really interesting. I’m putting it on my “order” list at the library. Its themes of loss, and abandonment, remind me a bit of a book I recently finished, “Recovering Charles,” by Jason Wright. The story involves a family going through its own personal tragedies (mother withdrug problem, father who allows himself to become isolated from his only son) and the son who wants to bridge the gap and “recover” his dad. It is set in New Orleans, after Katrina, so the “recovery” is both physical and emotional.

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