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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Modern Classics) Paperback – Deckle Edge, May 30, 2006
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“A profoundly moving novel, and an honest and true one. It cuts right to the heart of life. . . . If you miss A Tree Grows in Brooklyn you will deny yourself a rich experience.” (New York Times)
“One of the most dearly beloved and one of the finest books of our day.” (Orville Prescott)
“One of the books of the Century.” (New York Public Library)
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The book included interesting tidbits from life in the early 20th century and some nuggets of wisdom. One passage that stood out was, “They learned no compassion from their own anguish. Thus their suffering was wasted.” That is a great life lesson for everyone to learn when they go through hard times.
I found it interesting how Francie’s mother was completely against any form of charity, and she was determined to get by on her own hard work and merits even if that meant some cold, hungry nights. Imagine what our society would be like today if people took their own fortunes into their hands and were willing to work hard for a living!
I thoroughly enjoyed sharing in Francie’s highs and lows as she endured some hard times, but still managed to have some fun along the way. The episodes recounted in the book had me smiling at times, angry at the injustices Francie encountered, and sad at times as Francie learned some of life’s hard lessons. I recommend the book to anyone looking for a good family story, a look at life nearly a 100 years ago, and a story of hope and possibility.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn receives an A+ rating from me. It fulfilled my need to read a classic. It is a refreshing read from my regular fare of mysteries and biographies. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to read a classic book. This is termed a modern classic because it was written less than one hundred years ago.