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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (original 1943; edition 1998)

by Betty Smith

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11,011313255 (4.33)1 / 758
Member:hzaino
Title:A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Authors:Betty Smith
Info:Perennial Classics (1998), Edition: 1st Perennial Classics ed, Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)

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English (299)  Spanish (5)  French (1)  All (1)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  All (309)
Showing 1-5 of 299 (next | show all)
There were times when I was reading 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' that I thought, "Why is this book so important?" and Why is this book required reading at some schools?" The narrative is interesting and Smith's descriptions are excellent, but it doesn't have the same poetic style as Fitzgerald or Hemingway. Then it hit me! By the time you reach the end of 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' you feel wiser and worldlier because Smith makes you care about the main characters. You experience the same struggles, hurts and joys that they do. "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is an education unto itself and I think everyone should read it at least once. ( )
  beehappy | Feb 2, 2017 |
fantastic, one of my very favorites. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
The descriptions in this book are beautiful and the emotions so strong. I know this book is thought to be a classic, Young Adult, coming of age novel, but I think if a person were to read it at too young of an age, they wouldn’t be able to appreciate the way it is written. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do. ( )
  lynnski723 | Dec 31, 2016 |
A novelized account of the childhood of the daughter of Irish/Austrian immigrants, a girl named Francie living in Brooklyn, NY. Francie describes the ways the family scrambles to get food and other necessities--such as joining the long line of children bringing cans and other recyclables to a dealer so that they can get a few pennies. They have a hard life because their father, while a lovable and warm hearted man, drinks too much and only works occasionally as a singing waiter. The children (Francie and her brother Neelie) put every spare cent that they can in a tin can bank, hoping that one day they can have some land of their own. The book flashed back to how Francie's parents, Katie and Johnny got together and shows how each generation influences the next. Francie has a strong desire to learn and get a good education. Yet at times she is called upon to sacrifice her own dreams so that her brother Neelie will succeed. By the end of the book the family has found success in improving their lot--but has also endured terrible tragedies.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is long and there may be some sections that are less enjoyable than others, but overall the writing is lovely and descriptive. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys coming of age stories and stories about overcoming enormous odds to succeed. ( )
  debs4jc | Dec 22, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 299 (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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