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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (original 1943; edition 1947)

by Betty Smith, Richard Bergere (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,850309259 (4.33)1 / 744
Member:fuzzi
Title:A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Authors:Betty Smith
Other authors:Richard Bergere (Illustrator)
Info:Harper & Row Publishers (1947) Hardcover, illustrated book club edition
Collections:Your library, Favorites, TBSL, Best of 2012 (inactive)
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Brooklyn, children, poverty, girl, TBSL

Work details

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)

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(see all 21 recommendations)

1940s (5)
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English (297)  Spanish (5)  French (1)  All (1)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  All (307)
Showing 1-5 of 297 (next | show all)
Classic coming of age story about Francie Nolan and her and her family's life in early 1900s Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This has been on my to-read list for a long time and I am very happy I read it now that I just came back from a trip to New York and Brooklyn since it made it a lot easier to picture the places the narrator is describing. Even though it's not a very eventful novel (and can sometimes feel slow), its pacing works so well with the characters and their life and the descriptions of the tenements and the everyday life that was lived in the neighborhoods at the time - the early 1900s is very well evoked and smells and sounds are easily imagined. It's not strange that this has become a classic - the history books very rarely deal with "normal" people and here they are brought to life with a huge amount of humanity and respect. ( )
1 vote -Eva- | Nov 6, 2016 |
4 stars ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
I can't seem to make myself finish reading this one. It gets sadder and sadder the further along I go. ( )
  benandhil | Sep 28, 2016 |
The book that broke my reading hiatus of the past year. A good one to do so with, I think.

I picked this up at the library a couple days ago. My first time there (shameful since we've been in this area for a couple years now), I was walking around in the daze of "what to check out, what to check out" and this title popped off the shelf at me. And I was back in Mrs. Atkins' Creative Writing class during memoir-writing listening to her tell us about her love of Francie.

I can imagine waxing on a bit about this book myself someday. Not necessarily about Francie so much so as all the characters combined, along with the very "human" dialogue and expression. It paints a very clear picture of kids growing up too fast, how the place you live and the people you live with become parts of you, and how life's pretty good even if it isn't so grand as long as you have your own personal Brooklyn. ( )
  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
A memoir of a childhood in Brooklyn and a child's gradual realisation of the true lives of adults. ( )
  devilish2 | Aug 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 297 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (73 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Smith, Bettyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fields, AnnaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, BarnabyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kazin, AlfredAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stasolla, MarioIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There's a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly. . .survives without sun, water, and seemingly without earth. It would be considered beautiful except that there are too many of it.
Dedication
First words
Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York.
Quotations
Francie came away from her first chemistry lecture in a glow. In one hour she had found out that everything was made up of atoms which were in continual motion. She grasped the idea that nothing was ever lost or destroyed. Even if something was burned up or left to rot away, it did not disappear from the face of the earth; it changed into something else—gases, liquids, and powders. Everything, decided Francie after that first lecture, was vibrant with life and there was no death in chemistry. She was puzzled as to why learned people didn’t adopt chemistry as a religion.
Dear God, let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well-dressed. Let me be sincere- be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061120073, Paperback)

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. Betty Smith's poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Her frank writing about life's squalor was alarming to some of the more genteel society, but the book's humor and pathos ensured its place in the realm of classics--and in the hearts of readers, young and old. (Ages 10 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:00 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Young Francie Nolan, having inherited both her father's romantic and her mother's practical nature, struggles to survive and thrive growing up in the slums of Brooklyn in the early twentieth century.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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