Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Author: Betty Smith
Genre: Fiction
Number of Pages: 528 pages
Where I Got It: Library

First line: "Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York."

Francie Nolan is growing up in bright, vibrant, turn-of-the-century Brooklyn alongside her strong, hardworking mother, her sweet yet tragic father who she completely idolizes, her precocious younger brother who she can't ever seem to compare to and a cast of characters.

I. LOVED. This. Book.

Loved it.

I haven't read a lot of "classics" to be honest as I think I got completely turned off by having to read and analyze all of the feminism at my all girls high school in LA. But man am I glad I decided to give this one a try.

The best part of this book is that it's just so simple. Francie is about 11 when the book starts and simply talks to us about her life, her family, the city she lives in, the people she knows and the daily interactions that ultimately shape her life.  As she grows up, the tone changes from that of an innocent, inquisitive child to one of a matured adult who has experienced some of life's greatest trials and tribulations.  Yet at the end of the book, Francie is only 16 years old.

Francie and her family go through a LOT of challenges - hunger, poverty, an alcoholic father just to name a few - and yet instead of being and angry over her situation, Francie takes great joy in life's simple pleasures and has an overall optimistic outlook that is so refreshing and engaging.

The characters are very real and I immediately connected with Francie and felt all of her emotions because they were all situations that I could completely identify with.

I highly recommend this book.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Coming Up Next: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
So I'm pretty much over halfway through this book because I fell behind in my posting, but so far it's just okay.  The author juxtaposes two stories of polygamy. The first is the expulsion of Brigham Young's 19th wife, Ann Eliza, from the Mormon Church and the second is a modern-day murder mystery set in a polygamous compound in Utah. Last year I read "Under the Banner of Heaven" which prompted an interest in this subject, but so far this book isn't doing that much for me.

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