Book Review of
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
From the moment she entered the world, Francie Nolan needed to be made of stern stuff, for growing up in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn, New York demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior―such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce―no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are raw with honestly and tenderly threaded with family connectedness. Betty Smith has captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life―from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Smith has created a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as deeply resonant moments of universal experience. Here is an American classic that “cuts right to the heart of life,” hails the New York Times. “If you miss A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, you will deny yourself a rich experience.”
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn was published in 1943. It was one of the most-read fiction books during WWII.
I have heard about A Tree Grows In Brooklyn for years, but it wasn’t until I read about it in When Books Went to War that I decided to finally pick it up. After reading it, I can totally see why it is a classic book that is still popular eighty years later.
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn shares the story of Francie Nolan and her family. It follows the family through the struggles of life in an extremely poor area of New York in the early 1900s.
I think that this book is a classic because it shares the story in an everyday way. The author takes you to the time and place by sharing everyday life. It covers the struggles to put food on the table and get an education. The challenges of living with family and overcoming your past. This story could be the story of any of us.
I enjoyed reading this. It covered some difficult topics, but it still felt like a cozy comfort read to me. My guess is this will continue to be a classic book for many years to come.