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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
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Comments - other GAR Books > A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (and why we love libraries)

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Marnie (marniekeister)


message 2: by Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (last edited May 30, 2018 06:46AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) This is a moving story with themes of perseverance, family connection, and rising above one's circumstances. However, I did not fall in love with it as so many others have.


Codie | 61 comments I loved this book and named my daughter Betty ❤️ There are so many things I identified with while reading this book. Having an alcoholic parent, the different treatment of brother and sister, the desire to work hard and get beyond where we began without losing appreciation of where we came from.


Tasha I loved this one. I read it as an adult.


message 5: by Bill (new)

Bill A very powerful, excellent story. I've read two or three times and always enjoy.


Rosemarie This book was very popular with American soldiers during World War 2, especially those sent overseas.
I loved it. One of my favourite scenes is Francie's visit to the public library.


Colleen  | 47 comments I read it a few years ago and remember loving it - but now I can't even remember. :(

I do remember wishing I had read it in high school.


message 8: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jun 11, 2018 06:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Codie wrote: "I loved this book and named my daughter Betty ❤️ There are so many things I identified with while reading this book. Having an alcoholic parent, the different treatment of brother and sister, the d..."

Oh, that's sweet that you did that! I related to this book too, for similar reasons. I started listening to this book in the car yesterday, and it's all flooding back to me. I really related to Francy (rhymes with Nancy), and her frequent trips to the library.

[Though I think I had nicer librarians. We moved a lot, usually in the summer, so I often met a new librarian before I met kids my own age. A librarian in St Paul introduced me to the Betsy Tacy series, and I frequently made that long cold walk to get yet another one of those books.]


Codie | 61 comments Nancy - I lived at the library! It was just a few blocks from my house. It was a quaint little thing for our small town, set up in a historic house, but I loved it.


Parker | 204 comments The third place my mum took me after they adopted me was the library. I had special permission from the librarians to check out adult books when I was a kid. I loved libraries so much that I majored in Library Science in college.


Linda  | 915 comments NancyJ wrote: "Codie wrote: "I loved this book and named my daughter Betty ❤️ There are so many things I identified with while reading this book. Having an alcoholic parent, the different treatment of brother and..."

Haha, think we need a "Why I love the Library" thread! :D
Nancy, my niece was talking to me the other day about how she and her best friend used to read the Betsy/Tacy books (they must have been after my time. I read Betsy books but a different Betsy). Anyway. the other day her first grader (my great niece, she of the pictures) was reading Betsy/Tacy, and my niece felt like crying!

I just bought this, so will have to read it, finally! :D

My library memories are 2: I grew up in the country, but on a lake (so it didn't feel too isolated). We didn't have a library within walking distance, but in the summer, when school was out, the Bookmobile came on Wednesdays. Those librarians were awesome......they got to know their regulars, would automatically put me on the wait list for authors that they knew I liked, amazing that they could remember so many of us. I still smile whenever I see a Bookmobile, and want to go in, just because!

In high school, to avoid getting picked on at lunch, I would do my homework in the library. One of my best friends was working for the librarian, and she would allow us to take our lunches into her back office and eat. So after a while, I didn't have to skip lunch, and got quality time with my best friend.


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NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: " ."

I had a bookmobile too for a few years! Up to the age of 6 or 7, I lived in a rural-to-suburban area far from a library. My mother told me recently that she had to bring a wagon every time we went, because she couldn't carry all the books. There was a limit on the number of books you could take out, but she convinced them to let me have more because I went through them so fast. Even then I was greedy about books, but not clothes or toys.


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Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Codie wrote: "Nancy - I lived at the library! It was just a few blocks from my house. It was a quaint little thing for our small town, set up in a historic house, but I loved it."

Same! I used to get up every summer morning and go to the library, return the previous days book and get a new one.


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NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Linda Abhors "

I'm thrilled that a first grader today is reading Betsy and Tacy. They were old by the time I read them in the 1960's. They were popular in Minnesota, but when we moved to New York state (when I was 9), my town library didn't have them.


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NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Note I added the bit about libraries to the topic title. I thought maybe I could just move the posts to a new thread, but it appears that I cannot. When we start the group read on this book, we'll start with a new set of threads.


Linda  | 915 comments NancyJ wrote: "Linda Abhors "

I'm thrilled that a first grader today is reading Betsy and Tacy. They were old by the time I read them in the 1960's. They were popular in Minnesota, but when we moved to New York ..."

I grew up in MI, but had never heard of them. Told my niece I have a v. old copy of "Betsy and the Circus", and she said, "Nope, Aunt Lin, different series." They apparently used to play Betsy and Tacy!

I also had special permission to take out more than the 6 books allowed.
Saw the neatest thing in NC, I think it was Beaufort. Small cart, like a cart that you'd see selling arts/crafts in a marketplace. Sides lifted up into awnings. I asked if it was their version of a Bookmobile and she got snippy with me. I think she was afraid I was making fun of it, when really I thought it was charming.


Jacinta | 70 comments I love libraries and this book! As a kid, trips to the library were my favorite outings, and I always left with as tall a stack of books as I could fit in my arms. In that sense, I definitely identified with Francie.

Last year, I paired A Tree Grows in Brooklyn with The Glass Castle for my honors American lit students' summer reading. I taught at an all girls' high school, so two books (taking place decades apart) about girls coming of age went over really well. The class even agreed to postpone watching the Glass Castle movie (which, unknown to me when I assigned the reading, came out that same summer), and we went out as a class to see it after discussing the book.

I think both books raise interesting questions about families, and am especially interested in the question of whether an alcoholic can be a good parent.


Parker | 204 comments Jacinta, I can only speak from personal experience, but yes, an alcoholic can make a wonderful parent. When my Da and I met, I was 7 months old, covered in coal dust, and couldn't sit up by myself. It was love at first sight (on both our parts). I was *his* much more than I was Mum's. He taught me to read (and shared his favourite books with me), to hunt, to fish...wherever he was, I wanted to be. *He* was the one who I went to with my problems. He was a gentle man and a gentleman always (even when he was drinking).


Jacinta | 70 comments Parker, that was overwhelmingly the response my students with first-hand experience gave too. Interestingly, those with experience said yes and saw Johnny (and the father in The Glass Castle) in a mixed or positive light, while those without the experience were more likely to say no and see those characters in a primarily negative light.

Family is such a complex and emotionally fraught topic. One of my favorite to read about it fiction.


Jacinta | 70 comments I don't have that experience, but I briefly worked in child advocacy and saw it in that context. The situation obviously varies on a case-by-case basis, but I think outsiders would do well to take seriously the child's views in making those kinds of assessments. It's always easier to judge what you don't understand. I think Francie really helps show all the beauty even a selfish alcoholic parent can bring to his/her family's life.


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NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Jacinta wrote: "I love libraries and this book! As a kid, trips to the library were my favorite outings, and I always left with as tall a stack of books as I could fit in my arms. In that sense, I definitely ident..."

That sounds like a wonderful class. Do you think it's true that girls do better in an all-girl's school? I know it provides them with more leadership opportunities, which is essential in my opinion.

I forgot that they made a movie of The Glass Castle. How was it?

I too was raised by an alcoholic, but she didn't start until I was a teenager (or a tween maybe). She was one of the women Betty Friedan talked about who got married in the repressive 50's and was expected to be fully satisfied with a life as a wife and mother. She wasn't. She was a happy drunk (as opposed to a mean drunk), which made it easier to tolerate, and easier to not discuss. I think I was affected more by her unhappiness than her drinking. At the time I blamed my father, which was very unfair. He really held everything together for us.


Jacinta | 70 comments I think an all-girls' school has advantages and disadvantages like any other. In terms of leadership opportunities, it's wonderful. Our small school had a plethora of leadership roles available (student government, NHS, Model UN, and mission and ministry - it's a Catholic school - just to name a few), and students were limited to one significant leadership position, which allowed many to take on those kinds of roles and required them to fill their roles meaningfully rather than use them to pad their resumes. In that sense, it was great. On the other hand, many students' social savvy and overall maturity lagged behind what I would expect at that age. Certainly a mixed bag, but I loved working there.

The Glass Castle movie was pretty good. I can't remember anymore what it included and what it cut out; what I remember is my students' indignation that some critical childhood scenes were cut to accommodate the addition of romantic scenes that aren't in the book (proud teacher!). I think it omitted a lot of the mom's story, which I thought was a shame. Only so much you can do in two hours, I suppose.

I can't imagine what it would have been like to live as a woman in an earlier time. What you say about your mother's unhappiness reminds me of the movie Garden State and the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, both of which explore the impact of a mother's unhappiness on her children.


Bonnie I only remember loving this book, but it was long long ago, so I am re-reading it. I moved a lot as a child (military brat, then wife) and loved to read, so libraries were the first places I sought out after each new move. I loved being able to walk to the library as a kid with my own card. Now at 60 I am a "friend of the library", in a library bookclub, and check out kindle and audible books online.


Linda  | 915 comments Jacinta wrote: "I think an all-girls' school has advantages and disadvantages like any other. In terms of leadership opportunities, it's wonderful. Our small school had a plethora of leadership roles available (st..."

I love that they distribute the leadership opportunities like that! As an adult, I'm working with younger faculty who still "pad" their resumés by throwing out an idea, distributing the work on the committee, and then quitting or giving up on the idea once it's time for them to contribute some work, as well. It becomes apparent very soon that it's not about the students, it's about padding their own resumes and climbing. And I see students do it, as well. This is so encouraging!


Bonnie Re-reading this for the July discussion and WOW. I loved it at a child, but now reading it, I am surprised and how adult and good it is.


Linda  | 915 comments I got to the first library visit, and while she, with so little, was so happy, I was upset for her, that she didn't have the experiences we did (as seen above) at the library! I wish her a good, happy librarian, who gets excited when they see children excited about books!


message 27: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jun 25, 2018 06:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
The GROUP READ threads are now OPEN for the JULY 2018 group read. They will remain the CURRENT group read folder until August 1 (or later if we're still discussing it).

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

I will keep this thread here. I can't make the necessary edits to the top post on this thread, since I didn't start it.


Linda  | 915 comments Did anyone else hear of the op/ed in Forbes, from an econ prof who believes that the country should save him $40 a month in taxes by replacing libraries with Amazon stores?
I saw it, but it looks as though Forbes has taken it down now, cannot find it on their website. This article in The Guardian refers to it. I'm guessing that not only has he not been in a library for a while, but he probably hasn't been in my Starbuck's. It used to be a place to get comfy, have coffee, get some work done, and know that I wasn't the only person alive and awake at 9.30 p.m. A couple of years ago, they re-did the seating. The majority of the seating now consists of stools at long, high tables. No comfy seating, no privacy for you and your friends (since the tables now seat about 8 people)-nope, Starbuck's doesn't want you to stay, they want you to buy your coffee, drink it quickly, and get out, making room for the next customer. Because $3 for a cup of coffee wasn't giving them enough profits.
Anyway, here's a link to The Guardian's article, which also refers to the backlash from librarians:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...


message 29: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2018 09:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: "Did anyone else hear of the op/ed in Forbes, from an econ prof who believes that the country should save him $40 a month in taxes by replacing libraries with Amazon stores?
I saw it, but it looks ..."


Wow. He gives professors a bad name.

The Professor was from LIU Post. Remind me never to send my kids there. If I had a company on Long Island, I wouldn't send managers there either.

This reminds me of a cost accountant who told an ice cream company that they should only make vanilla ice cream, because it's the cheapest to produce, and therefore will be more profitable.


Linda  | 915 comments NancyJ wrote: "Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: "Did anyone else hear of the op/ed in Forbes, from an econ prof who believes that the country should save him $40 a month in taxes by replacing libraries with ..."

SInce I moved to the East Coast 20 yrs ago, I've noticed that when you ask students/people where they're from, people from LI don't say "I'm from New York." They say "I'm from Long Island", as though it were its own state or something. Exceptions to this are so rare, they're noted (by me :)) . That's the one I'll almost invariably wind up getting along with just fine.
Libraries were up in arms. They do so many other things. As someone who used to pick up the tax forms there, and has no air conditioning, I can speak to a couple of things besides books. Also, being a tourist town, we wind up with a lot of college students from other countries who come here as summer workers. If they don't want to/can't spend a lot of money at Starbuck's on their phones and free WiFi, they can use the computers at the library to track down housing, summer jobs, etc. The list goes on, but yeah, this guy is so out of touch.......and drank the Amazon Kool Aid to boot.


Roseanne Wow. I had no idea this bothered anyone. Anytime I have ever said I was from New York people assumed I was from the city and I had to tell them I was from Long Island anyway.


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NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Roseanne wrote: "Wow. I had no idea this bothered anyone. Anytime I have ever said I was from New York people assumed I was from the city and I had to tell them I was from Long Island anyway."

Me too, I live in New York state too, but if I forget to say "state" people assume I live in the City. I think I even said recently, "Do you want to go to New York this fall?" Meaning NY city.


message 33: by Linda (last edited Aug 26, 2018 06:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Linda  | 915 comments NancyJ wrote: "Roseanne wrote: "Wow. I had no idea this bothered anyone. Anytime I have ever said I was from New York people assumed I was from the city and I had to tell them I was from Long Island anyway."

Me ..."


That happens in Mexico, since the name of the capital is also Mexico (City). So when people within the country are headed to the capital, they say "Mexico", and it's understood. When they're outside of the country and people ask where they're from, they say "D.F."
I dunno, maybe it's the tone that people use when they say it, but yeah, I make a mental note of it.


Parker | 204 comments Roseanne wrote: "Wow. I had no idea this bothered anyone. Anytime I have ever said I was from New York people assumed I was from the city and I had to tell them I was from Long Island anyway."

I used to get the same thing when I told people I was from Kentucky. They would automatically assume I was from Louisville (as if that was the only city IN Kentucky)!


Linda  | 915 comments I think it makes sense if you're already in the city to say which part you're from. But otherwise, heck, just start with the state, like most people, and let it go from there.


message 36: by Roseanne (last edited Aug 28, 2018 11:15AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roseanne Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: "I think it makes sense if you're already in the city to say which part you're from. But otherwise, heck, just start with the state, like most people, and let it go from there."

It is just easier. No one has ever asked me to explain where Long Island is. So if someone says they are from NYC or LA or Chicago do you note that too? Because its not just people from Long Island who do this.


Bonnie Where I live in NC- and much of the state is so rural, we just name the county!


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Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Those of us from Pennsylvania are guilty of always claiming to be from PEE-EH.


Linda  | 915 comments Roseanne wrote: "Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: "I think it makes sense if you're already in the city to say which part you're from. But otherwise, heck, just start with the state, like most people, and let ..."

No, people from big cities often say they're from big cities. But when we're going around the room, and everyone else is saying "CT", "Mass", "NJ", etc., then sorry, "Long Island" sounds a bit like they're trying to distance themselves from the grittier parts of the city. It would be the equivalent of going around and people saying states, and having someone say "Westchester". But people from Westchester haven't done that yet.


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NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Bonnie wrote: "Where I live in NC- and much of the state is so rural, we just name the county!"

My son lives in Mecklenburg County!

Actually that's true of a lot of New York State too. Much of the state is surprisingly rural.


Roseanne Most New Yorkers do it. It’s a big state and most of it is not New York City.


Linda  | 915 comments No one (in the class, here, outside of the state) ever says "I'm from Brooklyn. I'm from Queens. I'm from Buffalo." It's always "I'm from New York", with the except of most from L.I.


Roseanne Actually yes they do but I’m not going to argue with you about this. I don’t judge people based on something so trivial as where they say they are from.


Linda  | 915 comments Roseanne wrote: "Actually yes they do but I’m not going to argue with you about this. I don’t judge people based on something so trivial as where they say they are from."

Neither do I.
But I do pay attention to how they say it. :)


Parker | 204 comments When I worked for a museum I would ask where visitors were from. It gave me a small clue (along with their general age group) as to how much they knew about slavery. Plus, I found it very interesting to know where our visitors were coming from!

No one can tell where I'm from -- I get "You don't sound like you're from Kentucky!" a lot. Thanks to those old vinyl records of great (English) actors reading great works of literature, I have a bit of an English accent. I also have been mistaken for a Canadian and a Bostonian.


Linda  | 915 comments Parker wrote: "When I worked for a museum I would ask where visitors were from. It gave me a small clue (along with their general age group) as to how much they knew about slavery. Plus, I found it very interesti..."

This comes out because I teach a language, so when their knowledge is rudimentary, the only verb they know is "to be", we use it to practice that verb. Also, Spanish has two verbs for "to be", and by doing this, we're starting to make it a habit for them, distinguishing when you use each one. Where you're from is something they can say in the first week, and starts building the habit.


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NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Linda,

Actually, in college, I always used to say I was from Westchester, because other students knew where that was, and they wouldn't have known the town's name. Same with Long Island, everyone knew where that was. I wouldn't attach any significance to it, but it did save time (to avoid questions and conversations about what it's like to live in NYCity.)


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NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Parker wrote: "When I worked for a museum I would ask where visitors were from. It gave me a small clue (along with their general age group) as to how much they knew about slavery. Plus, I found it very interesti..."

That's funny that you picked up an English accent. In college, my roommates were from New York city, and when I went home, my parents were wondering how I picked up the accent. I used to have a client from Atlanta, and after a long phone conversation, a colleague laughed because I sounded southern for a little while afterwards.


Parker | 204 comments I was blessed or cursed -- I'm not sure which -- with a very good ear for accents. When I studied acting in high school, I was the character actress because I could play whatever they needed me to. Russian? Check. English aristocrat? Check Cockney guttersnipe? I'm your girl. I've learned to let people know I'm not mocking them, I just naturally slide into their accent.


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NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Parker wrote: "I was blessed or cursed -- I'm not sure which -- with a very good ear for accents. When I studied acting in high school, I was the character actress because I could play whatever they needed me to...."

Cool skill. I'll bet there is something related to mirror neurons in play here. Some people are better able to feel what other people are feeling, and match their expressions and mood thanks to mirror neurons. Your brain enables you to hear and copy accents more accurately.


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