Book a Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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About a week ago, I came across a list of twenty books that I had promised myself to read by the end of 2021. Since we were about a week in November at that time, I went through the list and saw – with some horror – that I had read only five of the twenty books. After a quick reading of my libraries to find as many of the fifteen as possible, I quickly realized that a handful of them were quite large: with Don Quixote, Middlesex, the Invisible Hearts Furies and the Golden Notebook all at the top of 500 pages. When I calcuafterd that if I wanted to make even a light pruning, I would have to read at least 100 pages a day before the end of the year, I scanned my new stack for reading and decided to start with a tree growing in Brooklyn. Knowing that I had already tried a couple of times – and hadn’t succeeded– but also knowing that it was loved by critics and readers alike, I blocked a good two hours that afternoon, turned off my phone and started reading Betty Smith’s most popular book.

A Tree grows in Brooklyn Book Review

A beautiful coming–of-age story that follows the Nolan family – parents Katie and Johnny, their eleven-year-old daughter Francie Nolan-a girl that her grandmother Mary Rommely believed was destined for a special life-and her younger brother Neeley, growing a tree in Brooklyn is a sweet, restrained and sometimes heartbreaking story that offers an insight into a small corner of the world a century ago and yet has the strength to resonate with readers today.

Francie is a truly memorable character – who does her best to find beauty and meaning on a daily basis-despite her family’s financial difficulties and the relentless poverty with which her life is plagued. The beloved father of the children, Johnny, is a working waiter and-despite the love he has for his wife and children – is plagued by demons and alcoholism, so that he is not able to properly take care of his family or feed himself. And while her mother loves them both very much, she often seems to prefer Neeley, so Francie feels unloved and unwanted.

And while the premise of a loving but flawed family living in a dirt-poor Brooklyn is simple, a Tree Grows in Brooklyn uses stunning prose, a rich multi-generational tapestry, and the age-old idea of the American dream to deliver a poignant and powerful story of a young girl learning to persevere-like the tree in the book’s title-to improve her life and that of those around her.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a story about poor but proud working-class Americans and a beautiful and beloved story about what it really means to be human.

A tree grows in Brooklyn Summary

Betty Smith’s a Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a popular American classic about the growing up of a young girl at the turn of the century and a poignant, moving story full of compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartbreak, overflowing with life, people and incidents. The story of the young, sensitive and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for over sixty years. Alternately earth—shattering, sublime, heartbreaking and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly connected with family ties – in a literary work of art that brilliantly captures a unique moment and place, as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

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