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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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Top Customer Reviews
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!
Sometimes we look back at our own childhood's with nostalgia, and long for those "carefree" days of youth-- but truth be told, they weren't all that care-free. We forget the drama of the school yard, the minefields we negotiate in our neighborhoods and our yearnings to carve out our own niche, and understand the workings of the world as it relates to us.
The title, beautifully and poignantly metaphoric, whose message is one of hope. A tree does indeed survive, and even thrive surrounded by concrete and the ever present threat of it's roots being suffocated. I am so happy that this book was recommended to me, you will not be disappointed with this gem.