Book Reviews of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Author: Betty Smith
ISBN-13: 9780060929886
ISBN-10: 006092988X
Publication Date: 9/1/1998
Pages: 489
Rating:
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 301

4.2 stars, based on 301 ratings
Publisher: Perennial Classics
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

35 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

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
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 367 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on
Helpful Score: 1
A wonderful story, should be required reading in school! I read this book on recommendation of my cousin, and boy do I owe her thanks! She said it made her think of how our ancestors probably grew up in the early 1900s in Detroit, and I couldn't agree more. Betty Smith does a WONDERFUL job at portraying the perfect amount of detail to make you feel like you are the one walking the streets and bargaining for a hat or piece of meat, or walking 12 blocks one way to school. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows Francie Nolan, beginning at age 11, in Brooklyn, New York. She loves her drunk father and is desperate to win the affection of her mother, who favors her brother Neely. She absorbs the world around her with an awe that most 40 year olds lack.

This book is a wonderful description of life in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn, but it can be applied to ANY city, and makes a strong statement on the hope offered to the immigrants who came to the United States. The story emphasizes quite clearly the value of reading and a good education, but most importantly the strength of family and the dreams that sustain people. As Francie learns, "there had to be the dark and muddy waters so that the sun could have something to background it flashing glory." All people, young and old, will relish Francie's story and hold its message in their hearts forever.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Betty Smith does a good job of pulling you into the story from the start, but some parts of the story were a little slow. She painted a good picture of what it was like to live in the early 1900's. There are some dated vocabulary/slang that I was not quite sure of, but it did not take away from the story. Overall I think it is a pretty good read.
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A poignant story about a young, imaginative and resourceful girl growing up in the slums of Brooklyn in the early 1900's.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 3 more book reviews
Loved reading it and learning about the events leading up to the first World War.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 1091 more book reviews
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.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 20 more book reviews
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."
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Beautiful story, but sad.
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This is the third time in my life I have read this book, first time was as a young girl like Francie. I LOVED it even more this time if that is possible. All the little stories about the people and their day to day lives, their values,their struggles,their pettiness, their failings, their kindness- its all there. It's interesting that nothing is "whitewashed " as so many books written in that time were. This book has not lost anything as time moves on - it a "must read" either for the first time or the 3rd or 4th!!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 98 more book reviews
I'd heard about this book for many years but didn't even know what it was about. After reading the reviews on PBS I wanted to read it. It's a wonderful story about a young girl growing up in Brooklyn in the early 20th century. Even though it was written more than 60 years ago, the writing style is contemporary and easy to read. I loved the detail of everyday life in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. Ms. Smith brought the characters and the story to life. This book is truly a classic. I highly recommend it.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 9 more book reviews
A good read, especially on the beach.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 5 more book reviews
This book is one of the few that holds a special place in my heart. The story of Francie,and her beloved father Johnny is a timeless treasure. This is a classic that is still relevant in today's world, a young girl growing up poor in Brooklyn.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on
A great classic based on early 20th century life in Brooklyn.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 31 more book reviews
I read this book for the first time when my I was twelve and my mother gave me her grandmother's copy. It was the first book I truly fell in love with and I have loved it ever since. That being said, when my book club chose it as our next read, I was both excited and worried. Even though I read it several times between the ages of twelve and fifteen, I had not read it in alomost 20 years. What if it wasn't as good as I remembered? What if I didn't like it as much now as I did as a young teen? What if I didn't like it at all? Some books are better remembered in the past than revisited in the present (Flowers in the Attic comes immediately to mind), so even though I was thrilled to have an excuse to read it again, I was a little apprehensive. I didn't want my favorite book of all time to be ruined for me.

My worrying was for nothing because this is truly one of the greatest novels ever written.

Oh, how I love this book. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn makes me in love with life, in love with living. It's one of the few books I've ever read that when I got to the end, I was so incredibly sad it was over and I just wanted it to keep going, even though it was already 500 pages! I wanted to follow Francie and the Nolan family forever and I felt as if I was losing a dear friend.

The story takes place in Brooklyn, New York during the early 1900's, up until about 1920, and centers around the impoverished Nolan family, and specifically Francie Nolan, a shy, bookish misfit. Francie's mother works as a janitress, cleaning several tenement buildings in their poor neighborhood to support Francie and her brother Neely because Francie's father is a drunk. It's a heart-wrenching story with many ups and downs and I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say READ IT!

This book makes me want to be poor. Not because the book makes being poor seem great, because it makes plain the pain and suffering poverty causes, particularly at the beginning of the 20th century, but you really got a sense of how not having anything really made the Nolan's have each other, to help each other, to love each other, and to need each other in a way that they wouldn't have if they'd had enough. By the end of the book the Nolan's seem to be finally making their way out of the hard scrabble life and onto something easier and more comfortable than the poverty and grief they have endured, but you get a sense that they will never be as happy close as they were when they had only each other, when they really needed each other and could be there for one another in a way they won't need to be anymore. And to me one of the themes of this book is change. Change is obviously an inevitability and possibly even a necessity, but change is often sad. And even though change can be good, there is almost always a nostalgia for the way things were and even a mourning for what used to be, and so when I reach the end of this book, I feel a certain sadness even though I know the Nolans will be better off.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 27 more book reviews
I never read this book as a teenager and just loved it as an adult! It brings you back in time to Brooklyn, which is really a main character of this book. Read for the first time or again!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 5 more book reviews
It was slow to start, but very good once you get into it.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 9 more book reviews
wonderful book - I really enjoyed reading it
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Classic! Everyone should read this book at some point in their life.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on
This is one book that my copy will not be available to swap! It is one that I can reread yearly - excellent story.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 2 more book reviews
A classic!
A must read!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 11 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book. Thought provoking characters. Great to talk about at Book Club.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 530 more book reviews
A wonderful piece of lit............read years ago!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 17 more book reviews
I ordered A Tree Grows in Brooklyn because it appears on a book club's summer list. I vaguely remembered reading it in high school. Reading it now is a revelation. What a wonderfully dense, vibrant picture of the lives of the immigrant groups on Long Island. If you haven't read Tree in twenty years, pick it up again.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 33 more book reviews
A great book. Really intriguing story of a young girl as she grows up!!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 34 more book reviews
one of my favorite classics. betty smith does an excellent job of telling the story of a young girl growing up at a time when there was alot of confusion in America.... beatifully told!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 11 more book reviews
An excellent book. Well written with a good story line. I love historical novels so this was a good choice for me, definitely put me right at the turn of the century. I pictured my grandparents and how they grew up. I am not as wowed by some (like Oprah claiming this book changed her life?) but it was a very good read! Very Women's Lib for the day and probably a bit shocking back then. I gave the book to my daughter to read so sorry won't be posting just yet. But it is worth the wait!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 24 more book reviews
Oh my God, what a wonderful book. I have read and reread this book from my first time to now. My sister and I both sooo identified with the main character, Francine. I love how it ends: no "happy" ending, just Frannie saying "good-bye" to her old life sooo well!!!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 15 more book reviews
great book
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 26 more book reviews
this is a great book - worth the read
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 192 more book reviews
This story touches me every time I read it. My favorite book!
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 10 more book reviews
A coming of age story of an Irish girl living through adversity in Brooklyn in 1902, this is a wonderful story with great descriptions and character development. The joy of the book is in the details of our leading lady's life, rather than big dramatic action. I really liked the book.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 18 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book. Had never read it before we picked it for a book club selection.
reviewed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on + 54 more book reviews
A wondeful book! Everyone should read it at least once. Me, I've read it at least ten times.
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Thanks, prompt delivery, great condition!