A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
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
"Don't say that. It's not better to die. W ...more
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
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 ...more
Slow paced and really descriptive but I loved it.
I really enjoyed learning about life back then for the Nolans
Highs and lows of life and daily experience
I was so emotionally attached to Francie. She was a brillant character and I loved her to pieces
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
This may well be one of the top 5 books I have ever read. It is an amazing piece of fiction & one of those books that stays with you long after you've read it.
This was Betty Smith’s first novel and it is an American classic; it was an immediate bestseller when it was published in 1943. Smith drew from her own experien ...more
Then years ago, my book club decided to read it. What a Joy! What a Pleasure! I loved reading about this young girl who loved to read as much as I did. How I could relate to her love of going to the library and finding that special book - that treasure! Thus, this book became my treasure. It holds a place on my favorite book list!
Francie Nolan is a very poor young girl living in the slums of Williamsbur ...more
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
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
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
It starte ...more
The beginning went into the history of the Nolan family and I'm sure this set the stage, but it dragged and I almost stopped reading. I felt like it took forever to read this book. It was worth it. The story does grow inside you somehow. This is not the usual genre I read.
I also found the first 3/4 of the book very very stressful. They lived poor and there was a stress always about where the money was ...more
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
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
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
It was definitely my delicious slow burning read of the month. I adored it. This American modern classic is set in 1900s, and about Francie Nolan's coming-of-age story. Throughout the book, we follow Francie. It's a really slow book, not much happens, but a lot happens at the same time :) I can say, if you like action packed books, maybe it's not for you. But, if you like slow burning, real lif ...more
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
"Laurie's going to have a mighty easy life all right."
"Annie Laurie McShane! She'll never have the hard times we had, will she?"
"No. And she'll never have the fun we had, either."
"Gosh! We did have fun, didn't we, Neeley?"
"Poor Laurie," said Francie pityingly.
God bless the Francie Nolans of the world -- those who find beauty in the rundown Brooklyn tenements, hold onto hope in the darkest of times, appreciate the little things, and find the meaning of life in an intro to chemistry class ...more
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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