I really enjoyed this classic.
A poignant and deeply understanding story of childhood and family relationships. The Nolans lived in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn from 1902 to 1919....their daughter Francie and their son Neeley knew more than their fair share of the privations and sufferings that are the lot of a great city's poor. Primarily this is Francie's book. she is a superb feat of characterization, an imaginative, alert, resourceful child. And Francies' growing up and beginnings of wisdom are the substance of 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn'.
"It is a profoundly moving novel, and an honest and a true one. It cuts right to the heart of life" - New York Times.
This is a classic that should never be forgotten. One of my most favorite books ever.
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!
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
Have loved this book since I was a little girl!
wonderful story loved it.
A wonderful book. Simple, truthful and inspirational. I wish I read this as a girl, but I probably wouldn't have appreciated it like I do now - having my own daughter.
I really liked this one........surprised I hadn't read it until now. Very quick read.
Loved reading it and learning about the events leading up to the first World War.
An in-depth story told in the voice of a young girl growing up in Brooklyn when Wilson was president. The story begins in 1902 which I think counts as the last century. It's a poignant look at a young girl growing up in Brooklyn, so poor but happy with her family, even with an alcoholic father who had so many good qualities not the least of which is that he understood Francie as her mother never could. The tale is told by Francie herself and the author does a remarkable job of keeping in step with the girl's development, her thought processes, and the changes that occur. It's hard to imagine working so young to help put food on the family table when her father dies. It's a Cindarella story which I am sure rarely occurred to poverty-stricken people like Francie and her family.
I just Adore these characters! I am so sad to have to say goodbye to Francie. This is one of those stories that will stick with me for a long time.
"Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute."
"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" was written over sixty years ago and time has not diminished the capacity of this book to capture the reader's heart. This coming of age story that takes place in turn of the century Brooklyn will simply enthrall the reader with its descriptive passages and its richly developed characters. This book survives the passage of time because the themes upon which it touches are universal ones. I read this book for the first time as required reading in high school. At the time I hated it. I reread it as an adult and could not believe how great it was. I think this should be required reading for every school child, especially the girls! Like me, they probably won't get it at first, but if they give it a chance, they will not be sorry.
-I have read this book about once a year for the last 45 years and have never tired of it. It is primarily a reminder that I have many things to be thankful for. Francie's devotion to her Papa was nothing less than phenomenal. I have tried the hot chocolate the way they describe it...wonderful! To stretch what little meat they had, Mama would mash one of the weekly loaves of stale bread into a paste with water, add the meat with onion and whatever else was there, bake it and that was dinner. There are so many other things and it is so well written that I often felt I was experiencing everything right along side Francie.
-This is my favorite book of all time.
best book ever!! Endearing story of a girl growing up in early brooklyn 1902 to 1919...modeled after the authors childhood..
I laughed and cryed with deep feeling through this one..and it haunted me afterward.
A Classic every young girl should read!!
I haven't read this book, but researched the plot. Thought other people might be interested.
Francie Nolan, avid reader, penny-candy connoisseur, and adroit observer of human nature, has much to ponder in colorful, turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. She grows up with a sweet, tragic father, a severely realistic mother, and an aunt who gives her love too freely--to men, and to a brother who will always be the favored child. Francie learns early the meaning of hunger and the value of a penny. She is her father's child--romantic and hungry for beauty. But she is her mother's child, too--deeply practical and in constant need of truth. Like the Tree of Heaven that grows out of cement or through cellar gratings, resourceful Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive. Betty Smith's poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Her frank writing about life's squalor was alarming to some of the more genteel society, but the book's humor and pathos ensured its place in the realm of classics--and in the hearts of readers, young and old. (Ages 10 and older) --Emilie Coulter