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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
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Krista (booksandjams) | 746 comments Mod
You're well past 1/2 way now. What are your thoughts? Are there any quotes that have stood out to you? How are you liking the side characters? How do they add to Francie's story?

message 2: by Jenn (last edited Apr 04, 2018 07:59AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenn (sterlingmccord) I am really enjoying this book. The themes of generational poverty and educational inequality are important topics to grapple with. I also agree with the idea running throughout this book, that humanity grows strongest through struggle. Francie knows that the only way she is going to get a better education, and therefore the possibility of a better life, is if she enrolls in a school in a more affluent neighborhood. I think the side characters are a true picture of individuals in the time period and their socio-economic situation. I believe that they do add to Francie's story.

I loved each of the following quotes.

"If all the teacher were like Miss Burnstone and Mr. Morton, Francie would have known plain what heaven was, but it was just as well. There had to be the dark and muddy waters so the sun could have something to background it's flashing glory."

"...She could read! She could read! From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again; never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends, and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescents and when she wanted to feel close to someone, she could read a biography."

"It was a good thing she got herself into this other school. It showed her that there were other worlds beside the world that she had been born into and that these worlds were not unattainable."

message 3: by Berna (last edited Apr 23, 2018 09:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Berna | 64 comments I finished book three today and I feel like I am understanding the significance of the book.
Although nothing really "exciting" happens in the book, the characters and the time period is fleshed out so professionally. I feel like I am there all the time and dealing with poverty and social prejudices.
I am a fan of Katie and really like Francie as well.
My only complaint is that some sections could have been a little shorter to increase the tempo.

Krista (booksandjams) | 746 comments Mod
Berna, I'm struggling with the pacing too. I have started to think of each chapter as a short story so I stop being frustrated at the lack of overarching plot.

I am loving Francie and Katie too, Jenn. And that quote about reading I underlined when I read it. I rarely do that in books, but I couldn't resist making note of that section! So true, and so well put!

I just loved that Johnny had the foresight to have Sissy get flowers for Francie's graduation. That whole scene had me crying a bit. She was so convinced there wouldn't be flowers on her desk, but then there were and from her dad too. What a beautiful and heartbreaking scene.

I love the vivid picture I have of life in this time period. Betty Smith really does make it so clear what their poverty was like in such a straightforward way. It's not sugar coated or emphasized in any way. It's just life.

I have an appreciation for this book and the writing, but am still finding it hard to find motivation to pick it up. As much as I am enjoying Katie and Francie their stories aren't captivating me. My motivation now is that the end of April is coming soon and I want it to be finished! That's sad.

Jessica Beaver | 18 comments I still have teary eyes about the flowers from Papa! I also cried a bit when Katie explained the new baby's name. What a beautiful thing!

I love Francie's inner voice. The imagined conversation with the English teacher made me laugh out loud.

The story is lovely, and I am really enjoying this book.

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