Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn captured the imagination of readers in 1943. Now, over sixty years since its publication, thousands of readers of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn still enter its world and identify with Francie Nolan, growing up in a tenement in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Betty Smith admitted that Francie was herself and that her mother, father, grandparents, aunts, and uncles were the inspiration for the book’s characters. Here, in the first published biography of Betty Smith, their real-life stories are told. The heroes in Smith’s novels, all working-class women-Francie in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the office worker Margy in Tomorrow Will Be Better, the housewife Maggie in Maggie-Now, the aspiring writer Annie in Joy in the Morning-become self-directed and confident. These novels present an insider’s view of a blue collar world, of complex characters and psychological dynamics. (booksense)
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