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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Online

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Online 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 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an amazing novel, a kind of New York To Kill a Mockingbird. Beginning in 1912 but then flashing back to the early 1900s, it is the story of Francie Nolan, the daughter in a poor family. Her mother, Kate, is determined to get the best for her son, Neely, who is a year younger than Francie. Their father, Johnny, is handsome and funny and flamboyant, and also drinks way too much. And Francie loves to go the library. She's working her way through the books, from A to Z. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the story of the Rommely and the Nolan families' lives, centering on Francie. The title comes from a tree that grows in the yard. It's hard to pin-point what's so great about this novel. I read it 2 years ago, and loved it. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is less compelling than To Kill a Mockingbird, less deep, I guess you would say, but it's still a classic in its own right, and written much earlier. And it is pretty deep, whatever that actually means. Betty Smith brings to life the squalor and poverty of Brooklyn, New York, with her elegant prose. She creates wonderful, memorable characters and scenes. I loved reading about the various things that Francie and Neely did to earn a bit of candy money (though obviously, it was kind of sad), and reading about the various eccentricities of everyone in the neighborhood. You can certainly tell that Betty Smith was knowledgeable about Brooklyn; I'm pretty sure this book is based upon her own childhood at the turn of the century, and it shows. It feels realistic. I also loved the way that school was portrayed. A lot of the kids are awful to one another; even after they go through something, they tease other kids for having the same thing happen to them. The teachers ignore when the children need to use the bathroom, and bullying is rampant. And yet, there are moments of brightness: when the music teacher comes, when Sissy (Francie's aunt) intercedes for her. Francie actually really does like school. A thing I found interesting was that even though Manhattan isn't that far away, it seems so foreign to Francie, a whole other world that she can't even imagine. The characters were amazing. Katie, Johnny, Francie, Neely, Sissy...all of them and more felt realistic and were really fun to read about. Francie, particularly. She's an avid reader much like myself, "on that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived." I can identify with that, and I would highly recommend A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Francie and all of the Nolans are amazing characters. Each and every one of us today could stand to learn a few lessons from them on what it means to live and survive. Francie is a captivating character from the moment she is introduced. As her audience, you feel her shame, her pain, her innocence, and her joys as she struggles to maneuver her way through life in early twentieth century Brooklyn. The Nolans are not the only vibrant characters. The Rommely sisters and mother are a treat unto themselves. Each one of them are strong, resilient, and knowledgeable. Again, the lessons they teach on how to live life through the good times and especially the bad, and how to stand together as a family are still valid today. The novel is set during the early twentieth century, which means that a large majority of the backdrop is quite antiquated. The existence of horse-drawn carriages, words they use, prices of food - as a lover of history, I found these examples charming and fascinating. For me, the lessons about what life was like back then struck

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Online

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file:///C:/Documents/A Tree Grows in Brooklyn/A Tree Grows...

home more than any lecture or narrative by an elderly relative. Ms. Smith presents the background with an air of innocence that I'm not certain exists anymore. I adored this novel. To me, it was extremely calming and uplifting; as one person stated, it was food for my soul. I felt peaceful and rested every time I opened the book, as if for that brief period, my body could completely relax and let itself go. The pictures Ms. Smith paints with words are crystal clear, while the words she uses are melodious. Ms. Smith has created a wonderful example for young girls everywhere on what it means to be strong and never giving up. At so many points in the novel, any one of the Nolans or Rommely sisters could have given up and let life pass them, but they choose to continue to fight the good fight and live the best way they can. Given the economic turmoil in which we currently live, it may be time to revisit these ideas.

Anna Quindlen wrote the forward for this book. She said that Smith originally wrote the book as an autobiography, but the publishers wanted her to change it to fiction before publication. Reading it from this point of view made the book to come to life. At the end of the book there are some of Smith's short writings and a quote from her daughter: "She often said about 'Tree' that she didn't write it the way it was, but the way it should have been." So I have no idea how much of the book could have been factual, but I assume a lot of it. Quindlen also says, "In its [the book's] 500 pages, nothing much happens, from birth and death to marriage and bigamy. But those things happen in the slow, sure, meandering way that they happen in the slow,sure, meandering river of real existence..." There's really not much of a plot, but the book is captivating anyway. Most of the book is from Francie's point of view, who I assume is the fictional counterpart to Smith. She grows up in extreme poverty, with a drunken father, a strong, determined mother, a couple of wonderful Aunts, a grandma and a brother. The writing is delightful, even while the story is sometimes heart breaking. One of my friends thought the book too depressing and hard to read, but I thought that in the back of all the poverty, the thread of hope was always there, giving the reader the necessary glimpse of sunlight.

Perhaps the most well-written semi-autobiographical novel I've ever read. If the reader is patient, he/she is rewarded with a rich reading experience that I believe to be unrivaled. The book follows Francie Nolan, a girl (and the metaphorical tree) in a downtrodden part of Brooklyn. Betty Sutton weaves a tapestry of tales and vignettes centering around Francie but also her immediate family members. There is humor, adventure, sadness, and even horror. What lies underneath it all, however, is a quiet strength that permeates the Nolan household and is possessed by Francie, her brother, and especially her mother. I can safely say that I have never before became as emotionally invested in characters as I had the Nolans. I laughed, I gasped, and, yes, I even cried. If this book didn't strike at your heart, something's wrong with you. This book of roughly 500 pages is best suited to patient readers. The fact that it is set during the early 1900's in New York City may also appeal to those interested in that time period, especially if it's in New York City. Bottom line? It's a timeless and enduring classic that I heartily recommend to all. This is one book I want to take with me to the grave, I love it that much.

Click Here to Download the Book

6/9/2013 3:54 PM


A tree grows in brooklyn online