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Download 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 This book was one of the most unbelievably beautiful, heart-wrenching, unexpectedly laugh-out-loud funny in portions, make me weep in others, and heartwarming books that I have read in my life. I had never read or heard of the book before, but am trying to tackle some literary classics this year and this book was the most beautiful coming-of-age story that I have ever read. I can’t believe that I am 32 years old and just now reading it and discovering what a beautiful book this is. The book is about Mary Frances Nolan (also known as Francie) and shares the story of her life from the tender age of eleven until she turns sixteen. Growing up as a poor girl in Brooklyn, it shares the story of the survival that they must go through to keep food on the table and the difficulties of family life when ends just don’t meet. With a mother who is doing the best she can to keep their family afloat and an unreliable, but loving father who works as a singing waiter and takes to drinking at night to cope with the realities of his life, the family lives in a tiny flat in Brooklyn where they try to make the most on the very least. Francie is forced to be older than she is from the very beginning of her life. Often saddled with the task of bartering at the grocery store, figuring out a way to get into a better school so she can get her education, and made to get jobs to help with the family finances or assist her mother on jobs, you can’t help but admire Francie’s resourcefulness throughout the book. The Christmas scenes, the things that the children treasured the most, the tin can filling with pennies of earnings that would later feed them, the diary entries carefully edited because of her mother who didn’t want Francie writing about her father’s alcoholism, the impractical gifts that the children gave to each other (and their mother let them) only to discover their mother was right, those feelings of first love- all beautifully captured in prose that held me and wouldn’t let me go. While I can’t say that there is a definite plot to the story, the book is told almost in short story format sharing the daily trials and tribulations of growing up in a poor family, it really did not need a focused plot because the writing was so beautiful. I would say that it mainly focused on the self-discovery that Francie makes about herself and about her parents as she becomes more aware of what is happening around her and as the responsibilities later shift to Francie’s shoulders when she struggles with wanting to be an adult and support the family, but also desires to get an education. No words can describe what a treasure this book is to read. Despite being written so long ago, the themes are still so current- the need to keep up with one’s reputation, the importance of hard work and honesty in life, the discovery that money isn’t everything, but that it does make it easier when you don’t have to focus on it, and the importance of loyalty to your family. If you haven’t read this one, add it to your pile today!

This is such a wonderful and amazing piece of literature. Each and every character is so well-developed and unique, I feel like I really know them. Francie Nolan is a great character with a strong and perceptive personality. I loved Francie's mother, Katie, and I admired the many different layers and complexity to her and Francie's relationship. This is a book that leaves a lasting impact.


"Dear God, let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well-dressed. Let me be sincere- be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost." - Francie Nolan, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith was a great book about a child, Francie, who grew up during her rough challenges growing up in New York. Her father was always drinking and not providing for the family, while her mother worked many hours in order to just get by and pay for the rent. Her father openly stated to Francie that he wasn't ready for a family, and was never around to raise them. Throughout Francie's life, she was always focus on what was called the Tree of Heaven which was a strong tree that could grow anywhere its seeds were spread. No matter if the seeds were planted in the shade, darkness or just resting on the cement city sidewalks of Brooklyn. Francie would often reference the fact that the tree was so strong that it could grow out of cement. Her strength was similar to this tree in the sense that she could overcome many challenges.

Set in 1912. I like how the forward describes the book "In its nearly five hundred pages nothing much happens. Everything that can happen in life happens, from birth and death to marriage and bigamy. But those things happen the slow, sure, meandering way in the slow, sure, meandering river of real existence, not as the clanking "and then" that lends itself easily to event synopsis... It is a story about what it means to be human...It is an honest book, accurate as far as it goes. But it is more that that: It is deeply true, casting a light on the experiences of all, which is why after six decades from being published it continues to be read by people from all countries and all circumstances. A book about city life, grinding poverty, struggles of immigrants in America, the fabric of family, the limits of love, the loss of innocence, and the birth of knowledge.

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