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Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

May 19, 2016

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Second generation American Francie grows up in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York in the early part of the twentieth century.  Her father drinks too much and only works periodically.  Her mother works hard to keep her family together but life is a struggle for them.  Francie and her younger brother Neeley do what they can to help but it just seems like their family can’t get a break.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is Francie’s coming of age story and I absolutely loved it.  I adored Francie  – she loves to read and longs for an education but that doesn’t seem possible with her humble beginnings.  She loves her father dearly, even after she realizes his problem, and respects her mother.  She accepts her lot in life but is willing to work to change it.

I think Francie’s story was very typical for a child of that time period.  I know many of her stories were similar to stories of my own mother’s childhood.  I was amazed at how relevant this book, first published in 1943, still is today and flew through its pages.

This was my book club’s selection for April.  I was late to the meeting so I missed most of the discussion but found that everyone loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as much as I did.  If you haven’t already read this modern classic, I urge you to do so!

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane permalink
    May 19, 2016 7:17 am

    I loved this one and read it twice.

  2. Jeane permalink
    May 19, 2016 7:18 am

    It’s one of my favorites, too. I’ve tried reading a few other books by the same author, and they weren’t quite as good.

  3. May 19, 2016 7:19 am

    Such a wonderful book!!

  4. May 19, 2016 7:21 am

    Love when a classic is still relevant all these years later.

  5. Beth F permalink
    May 19, 2016 7:27 am

    I read this one when I was young — and I remember just loving it. So glad it held up and is still relevant.

  6. May 19, 2016 7:33 am

    I have owned this book since I was a girl, but I’ve never read it. I need to make time for it. Thank you for the review. I’m so glad it’s not too late for me to me enjoy it. 🙂

  7. May 19, 2016 8:31 am

    I loved this one when I first read it. I am probably past due for a reread. Thanks for sharing!

  8. May 19, 2016 9:40 am

    Wow! Sounds like quite a book. I kindled it awhile ago, but have yet to read it. Seems like I need to push it up my TBR pile. Great post!

  9. May 19, 2016 10:59 am

    Most of my experiences with “classics” have been disappointing. Maybe I can try again with this one.

  10. May 19, 2016 12:12 pm

    The title of this book is so familiar to me that I can’t believe I haven’t actually read it. But now I must. I have been drawn to this era lately, perhaps because it nostalgically reflects my mother’s times.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  11. May 19, 2016 12:26 pm

    I have this on my Kindle but haven’t read it yet. I did see the movie years ago. It was one of those movies that stays in your mind forever.

  12. May 19, 2016 2:51 pm

    Kathy, I read this classic a long time ago. I am overdue for a reread. Terrific review! I’m glad you loved it.

  13. May 19, 2016 3:11 pm

    For some reason when a book club I belonged to long ago picked this, I couldn’t finish it.

  14. Patty permalink
    May 19, 2016 3:18 pm

    I seriously loved this book so much that I had my own copy and read it every summer…this and Little Women!

  15. The Cue Card permalink
    May 19, 2016 4:01 pm

    A classic — I need to revisit. Thanks for your review. Lovely!

  16. May 19, 2016 4:02 pm

    I haven’t read this one, even though it’s been on my Kindle for a few years. Anna Quindlen’s Foreward dissuaded me from going through with it. I should try again!

  17. May 19, 2016 8:23 pm

    I think I may have read this many years ago, but it’s worth a re read.

  18. May 19, 2016 8:32 pm

    I have never heard of this one but glad you and the book club enjoyed it, that is always a plus.

  19. Carol M permalink
    May 19, 2016 9:23 pm

    I read this book when I was a young girl and I loved it. It is still on my keeper shelf. I also read Maggie-Now by this author and liked it almost as much. It’s time for me to reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

  20. May 19, 2016 11:08 pm

    I read this one a few years ago for book club too.

  21. May 20, 2016 6:40 am

    A favorite, and I re-read it about two years ago.

    Thanks for sharing.

  22. May 20, 2016 12:59 pm

    I’m going to add this to my ToRead list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.

  23. May 20, 2016 8:18 pm

    I still haven’t read this one. I like that your book club reads such a good mix of books.

  24. May 21, 2016 6:46 pm

    I read this a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. I, too, was amazed at how fresh, relevant and contemporary it felt given when it was published.

  25. May 22, 2016 8:38 am

    I loved this when I read it many years ago. I keep meaning to reread it!

  26. May 22, 2016 3:05 pm

    I picked this up last year as a Kindle Daily Deal but I haven’t read it yet. I didn’t realize how old it really is until you mentioned the 1943 original publishing date. I will make it a priority to read it this summer.

  27. May 23, 2016 12:13 am

    Thanks for reminding me about this one! I need to read it.

  28. bookingmama permalink
    May 23, 2016 8:19 am

    I read this one twice. We read it for book club a few years ago. I love coming of age stories and Francie’s is one of the best.

  29. May 26, 2016 8:10 am

    I think I read this one a very long time ago, but I can hardly remember a thing about it. Will have to pick it up again! Thanks for sharing with us at Booknificent Thursday on this week!

  30. maddiedawson permalink
    June 4, 2016 12:26 pm

    I am always so glad to hear of this book again, since it has been one of my favorites for years! Betty Smith did such an incredible job of describing Williamsburg and the life of people who were poor and striving. You can’t help but root for Francie! I loved this book!

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