A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Title: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
Author: Betty Smith
Published: 1943
Genre: Fiction: Classics; Historical-Fiction
Pages: 493
Rating: ****1/2
a tree grows in brooklynThe 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. (from Goodreads)
Thoughts: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn tells the story of Francie Nolan, a young girl who lives in Brooklyn in the beginning of the 20th century. From her parents courtship and marriage, her birth, her school and working days, her father’s death, and her departure for college, the book encompasses all aspects of Francie’s life as she grows up in the city.
     I loved this book! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is not ‘high’ literature, but it definitely deserves its recognition as a classic. Betty Smith initially wrote this book as a memoir of her childhood in Brooklyn, and at the request of her publisher revised it as fiction- I had fun trying to pick out the parts that might have been based on her life. This is the type of book where nothing ‘big’ happens; it is strongly focused on the day-to-day life of Francie and her family. And yet there is something wonderful about it that compelled me to read the book in 50-100 page chunks. The characters are fantastic- fully formed, complex, and real,- they are what kept me reading. I really felt for Francie’s mother and her father for all their faults. Of course, Francie is the real star of the show- full of curiosity and questions, she’s a wonderful little character that I am glad to have met.
     I find that when I really love a book it is much harder to write a review than if I hated it. I’m not sure what else to say except to say (again) that I loved it! Definitely planning on buying a copy in the future for my shelves and so that I can reread it whenever I get the urge. This book is a great story about a time, a girl, and a city- highly recommended!

About hillarypat

I'm a recent college graduate and this is my blog where I talk about whatever happens to be on my mind- mostly books!
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Books, Challenges/Group Reads/ Personal Goals, Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

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  3. Christy says:

    I read this book last December and it definitely deserves to be called a classic. And the funny thing is that I would argue that some ‘big’ stuff does happen (like her mom shooting that guy, a death), but in general, as you said in your review, it’s focused on the everyday in a vibrant, interesting way. I loved the relationship between Francie and her brother as well.

  4. I’m so glad you loved this one, too! Sorry it’s taken so long for me to read your review – I think I forgot to check back for other people’s links after I posted mine. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for reading along with me!

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