Friday, November 26, 2010

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Genre: Modern classic
FTC Disclosure: bought from Target
Published: 1943
Pages: 430
Content: PG-13

One Line Summary: A beautiful coming-of-age story.

From Goodreads: The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience. 

I enjoyed reading about Francie and her journey with her family in Brooklyn. Even though our childhoods were completely different I still felt like I could identify with her struggles. I could see pieces of me growing up with siblings, the wants and longings of our childhood hearts.

It was amazing to find myself in her neighborhood, what it was like growing up in that era where everyone knows everyone, for good or bad. I loved how Francie loved to read and learn and was able to finally move forward on her dreams. I was also shown the deep love a child can have for her father even when he is less than perfect. Even though Francie's father was an alcoholic, he was still a loving father and enjoyed his children. There are many scenes in the book that really make you think about your worldview and to reexamine yourself accordingly. That's what a classic is supposed to do...entertain and make you think. This one does both in abundance.

Rating: 5/5


  1. Amazing! Sounds like a really good read. I love it when a reader can really connect with the main character!

  2. I was thinking of suggesting this one for my book club's classic read for 2011. Some of the ladies have read it and liked it but a lot of us have yet to read it. Which is probably shameful.

  3. Nina, yes I really connected with her. She's a fantastic character! Lisa, I highly recommend this one for your book club! Lots of discussion from this one and it's just a beautiful read!


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