August 24, 2011

Book Review: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

After I read To Kill A Mockingbird, my friend Heidi let me borrow her copy of A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. It took me awhile to get to it, but I finally read it & loved it! I think it's my new favorite book.

Betty Smith wrote A Tree Grows In Brooklyn in 1943, but it was re-printed in 2001. I remember when I lived in NYC, I saw this book everywhere, so I was surprised when I started reading it & learned it was originally published in 1943. I thought it was a 10 year old book.

From Amazon:

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.

I fell in love with the main character, Francie Nolan. Her story broke my heart, but I couldn't quit reading it. It took me about 3 weeks to finish this book. It's long, but I also read it slowly because I didn't want it to end. In the few days since I finished reading it, I haven't quit thinking about Francie & wondering what she's doing now. I always find the mark of a good book is how much I continue to think about the characters after I finish reading it.

I think one of the things that fascinated me about this book is the fact that it's semi-autobiographical. Betty Smith was born Elizabeth Wehner on December 15, 1896, the same date as, although five years earlier than, her fictional heroine Francie Nolan. The daughter of German immigrants, she grew up poor in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

I loved this book & I really think it's my favorite book now. Better than To Kill A Mockingbird. Better than The Poisonwood Bible. I know a lot of you read this book in school when you were younger, but I recommend re-reading it now. It's long, but it's so worth it.

Five stars!


ND said...

This was my co-favorite book growing up (matched only by The Hobbit). I think it was the first book that made me realize that the people that we love are flawed but worth loving nevertheless. You may have inspired me to pick it up again. Thanks, lady! PS: Have you read The God Of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy? It is my favorite book that I've read as an adult. If you haven't read it, you need to! Beautiful prose, beautiful storytelling, heart-wrenching story.

Renee said...

That's our next book club book! I'm looking forward to reading. Where did you get it? I'm hoping the library has a copy for me to borrow.

The Blonde Mule said...

Nichole: No, I haven't read The God of Small Things, but I'm adding it to my list. Maybe I can find it at McKay. Thanks!

The Blonde Mule said...

Renee: Yay! I hope you like it. Mine is a borrowed copy from a friend, but I think she got it at McKay.

Eva said...

I fell in love with this book when I read it as a teenager! Need to read it again, thanks for the reminder :)

ND said...

@BM: I just bought a copy of God Of Small Things at McKay's last weekend. I think I'm going to pick up Tree Grows In Brooklyn on my next visit.
@Renee - what sort of book club are you in? Is it a public one? I'm in the market for a new book club. Mine is now defunct.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...