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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Author: Betty Smith
An American classic, the moving story set in the 1900's, about a young girl's coming of age at the turn of the century, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the lives of 11-year-old Francie Nolan, her younger brother Neely, and their parents, Irish immigrants who have settled in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Johnny Nolan is ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780060736262
ISBN-10: 0060736267
Publication Date: 1/29/2011
Pages: 493
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.

4.3 stars, based on 248 ratings
Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 42 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
I loved it!!!! The language really takes you back and make you feel like you're living in Brooklyn 100 years ago...she takes you into the lives and struggles of the characters and does an excellent job of creating emotional connections. I would definitely recommend this!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
A sweet book about a little girl who loves to do nothing more than read. Of course this has to be on my favorite books of all time. Every girl/ young woman should read this book. Highly recommended!!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Simply put, a classic. One of my favorites and one I can read again and again.

That's what I like best about it - I remember the first time I read it as a young girl, scavenging through my older sister's book collection. When I read it a second time in high school, I picked up on so many different things, and again as a young adult. I was just thinking about this book the other day, and now I wanted to read it again, and I'm guessing this time I'll read it through the eyes of a mother who has, at times, been overworked and overwhelmed with life and family! :) You find yourself so invested in these characters - Francie, her mother, her father, brother... and their story is timeless.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 136 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This has been around for sixty-six years and I have read it for the first time. I can't believe my ignorance of, truly, one of the great pieces of literature of the Twentieth Century.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This book is a great read.I loved the main character Francie and if you enjoy reading books about a person growing up you will love this one.Her life is so believable it makes you believe that if you want something and you persevere it will work out in the end. *****5 stars
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reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 507 more book reviews
There is nothing like reading a Classic... A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will not disappoint the reader who loves one! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book; Smith writes eloquently of the early 1900's; she relates in her writing of the suffering & struggle of poverty of many people of Brooklyn, New York. The stories are mainly about Francie Nolan and her family, but are well-told. Smith has a way of storytelling and writing; adding a little humor, too, from Francie. A great read!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 113 more book reviews
As is stated in this books forward, this story isn't about one thing. There isn't one topic, one climax, one point. It meanders quietly, yet poignantly through the growing up years of a young girl living in the poverty stricken tenements of 1912 Brooklyn, NY. To describe the plot is impossible if one wants to do it justice. There's just too much that would have to be left out and that that would be a shame. Suffice it to say it keeps one's attention to the elimination of everything else.

Upon research, I found it is actually an autobiography of the author (which makes it even more moving and unforgettable) who, upon request turned it into a story. I also learned while it became a huge best-seller when originally published in 1942, it was also hugely controversial. People didn't want to see poverty and injustice, reality in their stories. Looking in that mirror could be just too uncomfortable. Honesty is fine - up to a point - but truth is sometimes awfully hard to stomach. Taking from the book:

" Honesty is casting bright light on your own experience; truth is casting it on the experiences of all"

And, that's what Ms. Smith did so well. In her story we see bits of ourselves, for good or bad. We relate to the too-skinny girl who doesn't fit in. We remember the cruel children, the harsh teachers, the humiliating situations that coat the human experience. We also remember the joys that make childhood magical, the dreams that make growing up an adventure, no matter one's social class. Francie's life is filled with life - humanities. It's a story of living among the desperately poor through the eyes of one who knows nothing else. But, lest one think it is depressing and dark, it's also a story of love, of family, of the infallible will to do better in a country where better is always promised but sometimes disappoints. It's innocence shines through even while its hideousness is obvious. It is a quiet, heart-wrenching, soul-felt, yet ultimately hopeful story. It accepts weakness but inspires greatness. It admits ugliness while searching for beauty. It acknowledges great despair while encouraging great hope. All with a clear, simple voice of an 11 year old girl
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 11 more book reviews
Have loved this book since I was a little girl!

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