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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  284,401 Ratings  ·  14,592 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1943)
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Jim It might not be an easy book for some but based on your books I think you will do fine. It is engrossing and well written. It is well worth it just to…moreIt might not be an easy book for some but based on your books I think you will do fine. It is engrossing and well written. It is well worth it just to understand what life was like then.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maggie Campbell
Jan 05, 2012 Maggie Campbell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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."

"Don't say that. It's not better to die. W
...more
Khanh (the Grinch)
May 28, 2015 Khanh (the Grinch) rated it it was amazing
Some books give young girls dreams of ponies, kittens, and visions of eternal love. This book is not one of them.

If I were to make a metaphor, this book would be the equivalent of the ice bucket challenge. It offers no platitudes, it is harsh, realistic. It slaps you in the face with reality, a reality that is very rarely pleasant.

And it is also one of the best young adult books I have ever read.

I first read this book as a young teen, perhaps when I was 13 or 14. The main lesson I learned from i
...more
Casey
Jun 30, 2008 Casey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
{Yup, I'm reading it AGAIN.}

I sob, and I mean sob, every time I read this book. It's such a simple story--Francie Nolan is a smart little girl who's trying to find beauty in her sometimes ugly, always poverty-stricken life. Her adored father is wonderful, but too plagued by his own demons to support his family. Her mother loves her children fiercely but is often harsh because she thinks it's her job to keep them grounded in reality (oh, and she seems to love Francie's brother more). Her aunt is
...more
Peter Derk
Apr 27, 2012 Peter Derk rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Well, the tree grows very slowly and with exhaustive detail.

Couldn't get through this one. Actually, that's not entirely true. I could have. And I don't mean that in the way of a mountain climber who just couldn't make it to the top and then warps reality by looking back at it. No, it's more like "couldn't" as in "I couldn't eat another hashbrown from my McDonald's breakfast." Sure, I COULD have. It just didn't seem worth the pain.

I get why this book is a classic, I think. My brother and I argue
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Raghad Frehat
Jun 14, 2016 Raghad Frehat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Raghad by: Heba Nouraldeen

وإن سألتني الآن عن أفضل رواية قرأتها سأقول بلا شك شجرة تنمو في بروكلين :D

شجرة تنمو في بروكلين من الروايات التي تجبرك على أن تعيش كل لحظة فيها
.تلك القصة الرائعة الكلاسيكية
قصة يحاول أبطالها محاربة الفقر والجهل والجوع
من الصعب التوقف عن قراءة هذا الكتاب , كلما أريد التوقف أرى نفسي بادئة في الفصل الجديد
هي قصة وليست أي قصة . هي قصة عائلة آل نولان

Corbis JS1566230
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بعض الكتب تصيبك في البداية بخيبة الأمل والإحباط لكن سرعان ما تثبت لك أن لا بد من وجود الأمل وأن الأشياء الجيدة ستحصل بالتأكيد!

هل أتكلم عن فرانسي نولان التي
...more
Julia
Aug 17, 2007 Julia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-classics
Betty Smith's "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" has been passed down through at least three or four generations and is highly regarded as a classic novel perfect for any young adult bent on entering adulthood and escaping from the gaping clutches of a complicated childhood.
While it was not for those reasons that I first picked up "Brooklyn," I came to regard it as one of the finest books that I had ever read. At first glance, it is a very deceitful book: short; words spaced nicely apart; and, a largis
...more
Sarah
Francie stood on tiptoe and stretched her arms wide. "Oh, I want to hold it all!" she cried. "I want to hold the way the night is - cold without wind. And the way the stars are so near and shiny. I want to hold all of it tight until it hollers out, 'Let me go! Let me go!'"

The title of this novel refers to a tree that grows persistently up through the concrete and harsh conditions of a poor tenement neighborhood in early 1900s Brooklyn. But it is also a metaphor for the novel's protagonist, Franc
...more
Nataliya

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a quiet, gentle, understated and yet at the same time unexpectedly scathing at times book that offers a window (or a view from a fire escape, if you please) into a little corner of the world a century ago, and yet still has the power to resonate with readers of today.

After all, the world has moved forward, yes, but the essential human soul remains the same, and the obstacles in human lives - poverty, inequality, cruelty, and blind self-righteousness - are in no dange
...more
Sparrow
Jun 16, 2009 Sparrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: High school students, U.S. history classes
Recommended to Sparrow by: Amanda Coleman
It is a tribute to Jeanette Walls that I could not get through this book without comparing it dozens of times to The Glass Castle, with The Glass Castle coming off as its genius granddaughter or fashionable little sister. I probably should have read this first, as a child or teenager, but it’s too late for that now. No regrets! I could not help wondering why Betty Smith wrote this story as fiction rather than memoir, and the fact of it being fiction made me notice a lack of complexity in Francie ...more
El
I felt like the last person in the world to have read this book, and based on what everyone has said about it over the years, I expected this to be the next best thing after the Crispy Potato Soft Taco at Taco Bell. But as I read the first 200 pages, I thought everyone was out of their freaking minds. This, I thought, is what everyone has been raving about for as long as I can remember? I even did a quick peek at my GR friends list - you people love this book. I couldn't figure out why.

It starte
...more
Heba Nouraldeen

ثمة حياة تقف أمامها عاجزاً متأملاً لا تعرف ما الذي يُمكنك كتابته بشأنها وهذة إحداها..

رأيت الحزن يقتات على عينيكِ يا عزيزتي " فرانسي" منذ وفاة والدك..
لقد كنتِ تُحبينه لأنه كان يدرك إنك شجاعة وقوية ولكن لا يمنع ذلك من كونك بحاجة للتشجيع والحب والاهتمام..
بالرغم من أن والدتك كان لها الفضل في أن تكوني وأخاكِ صادقين ولا تتقبلا صدقة من أحد وحرصت على أن يكون العلم هو ما تتمكنا به مواجهة الحياة إلا إنها للأسف فشلت في أن تهب لكِ القدر الذي يليق بكِ من الحب وذلك لإنها كانت تعلم إنك قادرة على أن تجتازي درب
...more
B the BookAddict
Feb 12, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Most readers
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Anastasia
Shelves: favorites

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is the story of Francie (Frances) Nolan growing up in the slums of Brooklyn in 1912. Over the years, it has been called a timeless classic, a description which will undoubtedly remain steadfast.

“Francie’s mother is small and pretty but steely and tough but her father is warm and charming and, above all, a prisoner of his need for drink.”* Kate, the mother, is the breadwinner of the family, clean houses for the money, which feeds, clothes and keep the family warm (when t
...more
Ana {The Good Gif Fairy}
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This book has so many beautiful lines which have a lot of depth. A true classic and a legitimate masterpiece.
Daniella
May 16, 2011 Daniella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is my absolute favorite book of all time.

While the story is set at the turn of the century (1902-1919) and contains many historical elements that may feel alien to the modern reader, the message that is subtly and intricately woven into the fabric of the story is one that I feel not only transcends the ages, but also one with which many of us can identify.

The protagonist, Francie, and her family represent the sort of wonderfully complex characters who come alive in the r
...more
Ali AlShewail
May 05, 2016 Ali AlShewail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ali by: Heba Nouraldeen
"أعتقد أن من الممتع أن يشعر أشخاص مثلنا أن بإمكانهم رمي بعض الأشياء من وقت لآخر مثل هؤلاء الذين يملكون مالا كثيرا ولا يقلقون إذا رموا شيئا"

لو كان الفقر رجلا لقتلته , قالها الإمام علي بن أبي طالب -كرم الله وجهه- من قرون وما زالت ترددها الأجيال و الرجال من بعده .

هذة رواية الفقر و الفاقة , عسر الحال و الكفاح , النحت فى الصخر و مداعبة شظف الحياة , رواية إنسانية و قصة كفاح تنضح بالحب و البساطة و الحكمة و هي غاية فى الشجن و غاية فى الرقة الممتزجة بآلام العوز و الحاجة كفنتها و دفنتها فى قاعها النفس ال
...more
Stacey (prettybooks)
This post is part of the 2015 Classics Challenge.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
I was watching a video by Priscilla at The Readables when I came across it. Priscilla gave it an amazing review and so I asked for it for Christmas – over 3 years ago!

WHY I Chose to Read It
I chose to read it because I've had it for so long that it was about time. And this year I discovered that it was one of the most popular books on my TBR, much to my surprise.

WHAT Makes It A Classic
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn probably
...more
Carol
OH WHAT A WONDERFUL COMING-OF-AGE STORY!

In Betty Smith's classic, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, she re-creates the challenging world of extreme poverty, starvation and hardship that she grew up in as a girl and teen in the Williamsburg slums from 1902-1919.

As an avid reader, it is hard not to fall in love with Francie, her love of books and the explosive excitement she feels from learning and attaining her goals. The more I became acquainted with the Nolan family, I just did not want the story to en

...more
Shayantani Das
Jun 18, 2012 Shayantani Das rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who liked Little Women.
“Dear God," she prayed, "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.”

When I was just 10 pages i
...more
Shahad
عائلة نولان ،،،،
تلك العائلة المكافحة التي تعلمت كيف تعيش في أقسى الظروف
كيف تصنع السعادة بأبسط الأشياء كأغنية لجوني أو الاجتماع على القهوة الساخنة
كيف تحل مشاكلها وتفك أزماتها بدون الحاجة لمساعدة أحد وبكل كرامة وعزة نفس

image

الأب ( جوني ) : على الرغم من أنه سكير إلا أنه كان مهتما بعائلته لأبعد الحدود كان مصدر السعادة لزوجته وأبناءه بأغانيه اللطيفة .

الأم : تلك المرأة المكافحة الصابرة ذات النفس العزيزة التي لا تقبل المساعدة والصدقات والتي تحاول ألا تظهر مشاعرها وتقدم لأبناءها كل ما تستطيع من مساعدة

فرانسي
...more
Luann
Nov 15, 2008 Luann rated it it was amazing
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is another classic that I've always heard about, but never read - until now! And it's another one that I wish I had read sooner! If someone told me that this was an autobiography, I would believe it. It was extremely believable and well-written. Betty Smith completely drew me into Francie Nolan's world. I feel like I was there and lived that life with her - which is amazing because my life and experiences are very different from Francie's world as a poor young girl growi ...more
helen the bookowl
Sep 26, 2015 helen the bookowl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautiful story about Francie and her poor family struggling through life in Brooklyn in the 1900s. It is told from Francie's point-of-view, but through the pages you feel a deep connection to the rest of the family as well, which just makes the story even more touching.
I especially loved how some of the sentences and paragraphs in this book were poignant because they were very true and honest. I often had to stop and reread a passage just because it hit spot on and described life pe
...more
Beth
Mar 20, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I think my mom once said that this was her favorite book, and yet somehow I hadn’t read it until now. In my early teens, I remember coming across a paperback edition that had been lying around the house … and not making it past the first couple pages. The writing was way over my head (which had been addled by too much fluff reading of Baby-sitters Club, probably).

It’s probably for the best, though, for while this book centers around the young girl Francie Nolan, this coming-of-age story is appro
...more
Adira
BEST.BOOK.EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you Jay Z for making me want to read this book. #RandomFact

I did a Review for this book on my BookTube channel! Check it out here: Top Books of 2015(Pt. 1).
Sue
Another American classic finally read. I'm very glad to have finally experienced this book. It was really more than I expected, a wonderful story of a young girl growing up in early twentieth century Brooklyn with her parents and brother. The life was hard with family foremost but not perfect. The details were perfect, from the multiple uses for bread to stretch out meals to details from school experiences to conversations between mother and daughter revealing depths of honesty and past despair. ...more
عَـدن
May 04, 2016 عَـدن rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
مهما قرأت من روايات، فأنا واثقة أن هذه الرواية ستكون واحدة من أجمل ما ستقرأ علی الإطلاق..
حسنا.. في البداية كنت أظن أنني سأشعر بالملل إذ كنت أبحث عن الخيوط التي منها ستبدأ الحبكة، وحين لم أجدها شعرت بالإحباط ولكنني ما بدأت أدرك أن الرواية بنيت هكذا، لتعتمد علی الوصف والحكايات أكثر من الأحداث لم أستطع أن أتوقف عن القراءة، الرواية نفسها كانت تمسك بي وتدفعني كي أقرأها..

تتناول الرواية حياة الطفلة فرانسي نولان، وقد استطاعت بيتي، مع كل التغيرات التي مرت بها فرانسي في الرواية التعامل مع شخصيتها بكل مر
...more
Priscilla
Oct 13, 2012 Priscilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! A fantastic coming of age story.

Initial Thoughts:
1. Very relatable. Frances Nolan was born into a family that didn't have much, but managed to make it work every day. A great story of perseverance and determination.
2. Thoughtful and honest. I appreciated the realities Betty Smith brought forth, and the profound words that give strength to those who struggle.
3. Slow read. It's a book that I wanted to take my time with and absorb each experience Frances and her family was going through.
4
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Manju
Jun 18, 2016 Manju rated it really liked it
This is a classic coming of age story which elicits so many emotions and gives reader so much to contemplate on.

This is the story of Francie Nolan and her family. Nolan family is poor, her father is an alcoholic, her mother struggle really hard to meet the basic needs of daily life. Her father loves her immensely but her mother always put her brother before her. Even though they were poor but Francie's mother made both children go to school because according to her education was necessary to be
...more
هبة الله
يحدث مع رواية مثل هذه الرواية ان تفقد القدرة على الكتابة او الكلام او التعبير بأى شكل
لكن كل ما استطيع قوله ان هذه الرواية اكثر الروايات بؤسا واكثرها متعة
اكثرها حزنا واكثرها قوة وامل
اكثرها بساطة واكثرها عمقا
لقد احببتها كما لم احب رواية من قبل وتعلقت بها كثيرا ولم ارد ان تنتهى ابدا واعتقد ان اثرها سيبقى فى نفسى للابد
السيدة بيتى سميث اسفة اننى لم اقرأ لك من قبل



شكرا للاصدقاء على جمال الاختيار وعلى القراءة معهم
Crystal Craig
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"Dear God," she prayed, "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."

Betty Smith's classic novel,
...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Betty Smith (AKA Sophina Elisabeth Wehner): Born- December 15, 1896; Died- January 17, 1972

Born in Brooklyn, New York to German immigrants, she grew up poor in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. These experiences served as the framework to her first novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (19
...more
More about Betty Smith...

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