A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Large Print - 2001
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The American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century.

From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg 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, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans' daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from "junk day" on Saturdays, when the children of Francie's neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences--a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.

Publisher: HarperLargePrint,� 2001
Edition: Large print ed
ISBN: 9780060745943
0060745940
Branch Call Number: LPB SMIT

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HMWLibrary2017 Jul 14, 2017

Simple and straightforward, but yet magical in its familiarity and universality. A classic for a good reason.

f
Fuzzy_Wuzzy
Mar 05, 2017

Just like "To Kill A Mockingbird" (which was written by Harper Lee) - "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" (which was written by Betty Smith, aka. Elisabeth Wehner) is definitely another true classic of American literature penned by a female author.

Smith was 46 when she wrote this book. It was her own experiences as a young girl (growing up in poverty) that served as the framework for this first novel. Upon its initial publication in 1943 it was an immense success.

This touching, heartfelt, coming-of-age story clearly addresses many issues, such as, survival in the slums, dealing with an alcoholic parent, and the tenacious determination to rise above difficult circumstances.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn opens in the year 1912 where we meet 11-year-old Francie Nolan who relies on her fertile imagination and her love of reading to provide a temporary escape from the poverty that defines her daily existence.

Betty Smith, subsequently, wrote 3 other novels in her lifetime. She died in 1972 at the age of 75.

p
peacebenow
Mar 02, 2017

A classic story at the turn of the century about growing up poor in Brooklyn by parents who have problems and aspirations for their children. A great book about family, things that bring us together and ultimately motivates us. Finding good and inspiration in people.

c
cheriemoses
Oct 23, 2016

Some classics don't seem to hold their own through time. This one recreates the period so well that I felt engaged and immersed in that Brooklyn. Terrific writing and great character development.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 05, 2016

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is the story of living and wanting and hoping. It centers around a Brooklyn girl and her family in the early 1900s. Smith has truly captured what it means to be human in this debut novel. She recalls childhood with such insight that it is easy to forget you're reading.

9
999NORMA
Mar 30, 2016

It was a pretty good book, but contrived and lacking in character development in favour of the plot.

n
Noah_Ko
Dec 16, 2015

I loved this book and I'd just like to give a quick review. Its about a poor family named the Nolans living in the slums of Brooklyn where they struggle to keep themselves together.
When their father dies around the children's 8th grade graduation, their whole family must work to survive. The protagonist, Francie, is left with the main job making the most money for the Nolan family therefore severly lowering her chances of finishing school and becoming a writer.

adasilva7 Nov 23, 2015

A beautiful story set in early 20th century New York. Despite it's time and place, this is truly a timeless read with themes that still resonate today.

CRRL_VirginiaJohnson Jul 21, 2015

Once kept as a controlled material in many public libraries, this story of immigrant struggles in 1910s Brooklyn is a classic for a reason. The heroine is an odd duck from her peers, a reading, thoughtful child whose life parallels that of the authors. A genuinely important book. Although often taught in high school, I think older readers would grasp certain situations better. Also, it's a quiet book that's pulled along mainly by the force and hope of its gentle, strong-willed character.

i
ireadlikeimonfire
Apr 01, 2015

This is one of my favorite books. I started it over summer vacation, and I couldn't put it down. I finished the 500 page book in less then two days. I would recommend this book to everyone, though it can be slower at times. There are some mature themes in this book, so young children should not read this book without an adult censoring it first. Definitely a classic worth reading.

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Age Suitability

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i
ireadlikeimonfire
Apr 01, 2015

ireadlikeimonfire thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 99

j
julia_sedai
Sep 23, 2014

julia_sedai thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

platypus101 Jul 11, 2013

platypus101 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

rhonda65 May 03, 2011

rhonda65 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Quotes

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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

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.

w
wendyvoid
Jul 01, 2015

“The world was hers for the reading.”

"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."

g
Gray_Willow
Jun 26, 2014

"There had to be the dark and muddy waters so that the sun could have something to background its flashing glory" (Smith 165).

Summary

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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.

platypus101 Jul 11, 2013

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.

b
bluetristesse
Jul 31, 2012

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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