A Tree Grows in Brooklyn ePub Edition by Betty Smith Click Here to Download the Book 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.
Reviews Very rarely have a read any work of fiction and took something away from it so fervently that it became a part of my being. As a decendent from those idealistic immigrants (mine being Irish) of years ago first setting foot on American soil, I never understood exactly what their plight, motivation and inevitable lifestyle entailed. I felt by reading this book, I was with them -- enduring this journey by their side. I felt so deeply the struggles of their poverty, the mocking of the prejudice, the beatings of their frustrations. Yet, there was so much more. It appealed to me as a child who adored and lost her father. As a young woman with the promise that with all the demons an individual may carry within them there is still goodness of character. Above all, through Katy and Mary, I journeyed as an adult learning there is hope under the most hopeless of circumstances and facing the worry of a future for her children. The main subject Francie took me through our childhood together, through the losses and bitter tears. Into womanhood where everything that once seemed such a hardship was now recalled with warmth of heart and adoration. I learned insight into my own character and to look for beauty where others fail to glance. There were stories in this book that reminded me so much of recollections from my family that I felt I was in the story somewhere. It's a beautiful book and perhaps my absolute favorite. I would (and will) recommend this book to my mom, my daughters and anyone who wants to feel that amazing magical warmth of humanity and glory of new beginnings.
I read this book in high school, at a time when I needed the kind of validation that comes from reading a book that resembles a wonderful stream-of-consciousness approach. Living a historical life through the eyes of another girl connected to a part of me that makes every memory of this read warm. To be truthful, I went back to read it as an adult, and I didn't have the same experience. In fact, I felt like the book was so packed with information that I had to read it slow. When I was young, I couldn't read it fast enough, or think about it long enough. Several images from the book stick out in my mind. Reading from Shakespeare and the Bible. The piano. Collecting coins in a jar to save money. Watching her friends pick toys from the wall. Going to the butcher. But what it comes down to is this: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is a gripping, sweet kind of memoir of experiences from Betty's own life. It's a book of her shadows and mirrors. It reflects and portrays. Betty tells of her own experiences through the young girl Francie Nolan. She flushes out sad parts of her own life, and her struggling relationship with her mothers favoritism. We mourn with her as her father gives into alcohol. We cheer when she goes to the library, determined to learn. Although it's a different book for me to read as an adult, this book will forever live in the annals of a novel that fed into my own life experiences, and helped me learn a love of good literature.
I wasn't sure how to categorize this book, since it's a fictionalized memoir...so, figuring there's generally a fair amount of truth in fiction, I chose that.
This was a truly amazing book. I am in complete agreement with the consensus of it being an American classic. Not only for its greatness and wide appeal, but for its content. Brooklyn in the immigration era was when the melting pot was beginning to simmer--all the ingredients were there, but there wasn't much blending of flavor yet! Sure, there's an interesting story to tell here, but the telling is so masterful, and the images so unique. It goes beyond merely descriptive when you not only get the imagery, but the emotion and the tugging of the heartstrings. And the depth...there's so much depth in these vignettes (it is one story, but as you read it, you'll see that it often branches out into a little side-story). The end of this novel was a glass of great wine after the meal--there are some great books that just end in such a wonderful way, you wouldn't think it were possible...The Return of the King is one that comes to mind. I have found that usually memoirs end awkwardly...but this one was nearly orgasmic in its greatness! (Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I was quite taken aback and drank it in exultantly with lot of mental sighs!) I'd recommend this book when you're in a mood to read SLOWLY, to savor, or better yet, to read it aloud with someone! I read parts with my husband, and we laughed, shook our heads, and paused often to absorb a moment.
I don't know how many times I've read this book but I enjoy it more with each reading. This is one of my all time favorite books. The character of Francie grows and matures far beyond her years right before our eyes. And Betty Smith does a wonderful job of taking us inside Francie's heart and soul so we can grow and mature along with her. I give it 5 stars for story line, character development and just plain good reading.
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