All Souls: A Family Story From Southie is an autobiographical memoir written by Michael Patrick MacDonald and published by Beacon Press in September 1999. The writing recounts MacDonald's growing up in the Old Colony Housing Projects in South Boston, a neighborhood comprised of mostly white Irish Catholics. The book introduces many of the people that were in Macdonald's life, including his brothers and sisters, his mother Helen King, and Whitey Bulger, an FBI informant who doubled as a gangster and introduced drugs into the neighborhood.
Because of the way that MacDonald narrates the story, putting a positive attitude towards the subject despite all of the bad that has happened, the book has won a number of awards and received high praise from critcs upon its release. It received a New England Literary Lights Award, the Myers Outstanding Book Award, which is administered by the Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America, and an American Book Award, among many others.
Michael Patrick MacDonald has said that he wrote this book to explain to readers what life is like in places that resemble where he grew up. He explains the hard nature of the neighborhood, and the horrible things that happen there and that it does to people. The novel strikes an emotional chord among readers through the way nothing is held back, resulting in a powerful, blunt read that will continue to be relevant for years to come.