Friday, May 25, 2012

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Author:  Betty Smith
Year: 1943
Publisher:  Harper Collins

This is the coming of age story of Frances Nolan. Francie lives in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. Her family is poor. They scrape by for food and make up games to make their meager rations seem like more. Her father is an alcoholic. Francie's mother, a very hard worker, has one goal and that is that her children have a better life than she did. Francie loves school and reading but is a bit of a loner. 

I'm not sure what I expected when I started this book but it wasn't what I got. There is no goal or mission for Francie except for growing up and surviving in the slums of Brooklyn. Yet, the book was engrossing. It was like Betty Smith shot a film of life in Brooklyn during this time period and then translated it to a book. I felt what it was like to be Francie. She is strong, beautiful, smart and thoughtful. She might just be one of my favorite heroines in literature. 

On top of that, Betty Smith had some of the most beautiful writing I've seen anywhere. More than once, there were paragraphs that I had to reread just because they are so beautiful and that there is so much said that I was afraid I missing parts. If you're in the mood to read a classic, then pick this book up and give it a try.


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