A Tree Grows in BrooklynBook - 2005 | 1st Harper Perennial Modern Classics ed
From Library Staff
(1943). The Nolans lived in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn from 1902 until 1919. Their daughter, Francie, and their son, Neely, knew more than their fair share of the privations and sufferings that are the lot of a great city's poor. Francie, having inherited both her father's romantic and he... Read More »
I read it in my early teens and, although I was a voracious reader, I had never realized a book could go beyond the outer story and tell the characters inner story. This is when I fell in love with literature. Up till then reading was my favorite source of entertainment. Reading Betty Smith's ... Read More »
Francie Nolan, a young Brooklyn girl both impoverished and mistreated, searches with courage and determination for beauty and truth in an ugly world.
From the critics
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Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.
"you didn't see the dirt or the meanness; you saw the glory of innocence and the poignancy of a baby growing up too soon."
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This book follows the life of young Frances (Francie) Nolan. It takes you through her hard life in Brooklyn where Francie soon learns to take care of herself and others having to make sacrifices from a young age for the ones she loves. Francie's thoughtful insight teach many life lessons though seen from her perspective. This novel takes time and you grow alongside with the somewhat out of place Francie, and as it is her life story some readers may find it dull...My first read of this author and very good overall.
The title of this novel refers to a tree that grows persistently up through the concrete and harsh conditions of a poor tenement neighborhood in early 1900s Brooklyn. But it is also a metaphor for the novel's protagonist, Francie Nolan. She is a sweet, innocent girl who grows and flourishes despite a harsh environment of neglect and poverty.
This novel centers on Francie Nolan's coming-of-age in 1910s and 1920s Brooklyn. Francie starts the novel as a poor 11-year-old girl who loves to read with an alcoholic father who she feels she understands and vice versa. They are both sentimental and talented. Francie's breadwinning mother does not have as healthy as a relationship with her daughter - she favors Francie's younger brother and "always has to have the last word." The novel is character-centric, and has little semblance of a plot
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