A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Kindle 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 I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Francie Nolan as she grew up in Brooklyn at the turn of the century. This was one of those stories where I was actually sad to have finished the book as I so enjoyed the simple tales and the drama of life during those times. It made me want to go back and study that era of American history when much of New York was populated by recent immigrants from Europe. One part of the story that I found particularly eye-opening was an interaction that Francie has with her composition teacher. This teacher criticizes her stories when she stops writing fanciful tales and starts to write about her real life and family. Until this moment, Francie loves writing and sees these stories as a way to celebrate what she knows and the people she loves. And as it turns out, what she knows is an extremely hard life in a family that struggles just to put food on the table. Her teacher's attitude reflects the very real insensitivity of people in different socioeconomic groups. Something that happens even today. In this case, Francie is faced with a teacher with a middle class upbringing who can't fathom why people would live like this, essentially saying there's just no excuse for living in poverty. Definitely worth a read and should be on every young adult's reading list or discussed as part of a study of America's early history.
This book was absolutely amazing. Nothing I say can do it all the justice it deserves. All I can say is, this is a MUST read. I'm the age Francie is at the end of the book and her journey truly touched me. Even though our lives are completely different, somehow I still connected with her. Betty Smith is a magnificent writer and story teller....I was sad when I finished this wonderful novel. I really loved how Smith associated Francie's story with a tree (hence, the title). When the old tree died and the new one grew from it's trunk, my heart was won over. The girl across the street that had once been Francie was in a way beginning her Brooklyn story as Francie was moving on. I don't normally cry over books, but the part where Francie and Neeley said goodbye totally got me! The relationship between brother and sister was one of my favorites. There was also that relationship between Francie and her mother that was tragic, yet beautiful. There were times when I wanted to smack Katie for being unfair to her daughter. What I didn't understand until later on is that Katie just couldn't act any different. Her and her daughter were too much the same to have a powerful relationship. I could go on and on about different plot elements and my favorite parts...but I'll spare you guys :) lol! Please read this if you haven't already and recommend it to everyone you know!
This book is about young Francie who was born and raised in Brooklyn in the early 20th century. Her family is rather poor but they try to get along as best as they can. Francie is an outcast, she has no friends and her passion is reading out on the fire escape next to the crown of a very big tree, which hides her. She dearly loves her father, a singing waiter and a bad drunkard, who will not get very old. This will be the families biggest challenge to come along without a real family father.
The book is full of Francie's obscure observations of her little world as she doesn't know anything else as Brooklyn and the neighborhood. But never the less Francie somehow seems to know what is important. She is a very well developed personality with a great portion of sensitivity. My book cover says this book is of the same kind as Angela's Ashes. As a Tree Grows in Brooklyn was first I would say Angela's Ashes is of the same kind as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
I had heard of this book over the years and I think once in Mad Magazine as a kid. One of those novel names that are like background noise and I never really considered looking for it and reading it. But there was a very good reason the title is so well known in that it really is a classic. The coming of age story of a girl in turn of the 20th century Brooklyn is rather amazing. The period is described so well it is almost as if it becomes one of your own memories. You really feel the extreme poverty of the time and the value of a penny then. The characters are so fully formed that you hardly think of them as fictional characters and the novel has more of a feel of a autobiography then anything. It is obviously semi-biographical as the author group up in the part of Brooklyn mentioned in the novel. I really loved the view of people in the novel. Characters who had made mistakes and had serious moral problems are treated compassionately. The Father in this novel is treated with so much love, while in another novel he might be portrayed in a more negative light. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Catholicity of the novel in that the family described is Catholic and there are some beautiful statements within on Catholic life and at one point the Eucharist. For a novel written in the 40s it was also interesting to see pro-life themes on the issue of abortion. I loved almost everything about this novel which reminded me once again that so-called chick lit is a misnomer and novels like Little Women, Jane Eyre, etc can be deeply loved by men.
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