HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by betty smith
Loading...

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (original 1943; edition 2001)

by betty smith, anna quindlen (Foreword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,556250301 (4.34)1 / 627
Member:Larkken
Title:A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Authors:betty smith
Other authors:anna quindlen (Foreword)
Info:harper perennial (2001), Paperback, 493 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, historical fiction, children, New York, Brooklyn, childhood

Work details

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)

  1. 151
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (loriephillips, rebeccareid)
  2. 40
    'Tis, a Memoir by Frank McCourt (kiwiflowa)
  3. 73
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (weener)
    weener: Another superb girl's coming-of-age novel!
  4. 51
    Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (Anonymous user)
  5. 74
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (JGoto)
  6. 20
    The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane (JGoto)
  7. 20
    Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson (wisewoman)
    wisewoman: Both stories are semi-autobiographical and tell the story of a young, sensitive girl coming of age in a poor community. The heroines have similar family structures (attractive, hardworking mother, generally absent/weak father, younger brother who fits into his surroundings better than his older sister). The historical setting is very important to both works and almost acts as a character in its own right.… (more)
  8. 10
    A Bag of Marbles by Joseph Joffo (Benaleer)
  9. 10
    The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Set in 1939, The Tin Flute is also a beautifully told coming of age story, this time of a young, working class French-Canadian girl in Quebec.
  10. 10
    Poor Man's Orange by Ruth Park (tandah)
  11. 00
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (FutureMrsJoshGroban)
    FutureMrsJoshGroban: The style of writing and realism in the portrayal of the characters is very similar.
  12. 00
    Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (LadyBlakeny)
  13. 11
    I Love You Like a Tomato by Marie Giordano (someproseandcons)
  14. 66
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (readerbabe1984)
  15. 33
    The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (readerbabe1984)
  16. 01
    The Drive-In by Joe R. Lansdale (cometahalley)
  17. 01
    Le storie di Arturo Bandini by John Fante (cometahalley)
  18. 01
    Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín (kiwiflowa)
  19. 02
    Daddy Was a Number Runner by Louise Meriwether (crislee123)
    crislee123: This is a coming-of-age story about a 12 year old African American girl growing up in Harlem in the 1930's. This book touches on many of the same thems.
  20. 13
    The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver (readerbabe1984)

(see all 20 recommendations)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (240)  Spanish (5)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Chinese, traditional (1)  All languages (248)
Showing 1-5 of 240 (next | show all)
Having little time to read, this was a slow starter. Unlike contemporary fiction with the "page-turning" literary device I don't know the name of, Ms. Smith's book passed like time, some days more interesting than others. A portrait of Brooklyn in the early 1900's through the eyes of a young girl. I think I was reading the original edition with the cover illustration of the 'tree of heaven' growing up alongside a brick building with the bridge connecting it to Manhattan in the background. The pages were so worn and silky they were hard to turn. I couldn't help feeling like I was reading it along with all the others who'd checked it out from the library before me. All of us sharing this intimate history together as if it were our own. ( )
  hallywog | Sep 11, 2014 |
I'm sure this book was great in the 1940s but it was not that interesting to me in 2014. And I even grew up in Brooklyn, but that did not help. Characters seemed very one dimensional to me and the writing was a bit simplistic. ( )
  padmacatell | Sep 8, 2014 |
I can't believe I waited so long to read this book. It is such an amazing book! It's all about being American, but it's not all tacky or patriotic or anything. Well, it is patriotic, but not in a tacky way. And it's also just about life, and growing up. And it has lots of excerpts from songs and poems, and I always love that in a book. ( )
  GraceZ | Sep 6, 2014 |
This is a bittersweet story of coming of age in the pre-WWI tenements of the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn. Francie and her younger brother Neely, collect junk to sell on Saturdays while their parents eke out a living scrubbing tenement floors (the mom) and singing at weddings (the dad). Life is hard, brutal, and frequently short, but the children find their own beauty and strength in family relationships and small triumphs. For those who enjoyed the movie, it only covered about 2/3's of the book. There are several more interesting and hopeful chapters about the Nolan family after the end of the movie. There's also a good deal of humor in the book, which given the grim background is a relief. This book is considered a classic, which means I tolerated a writing style which, in a modern book, would drive me crazy--almost no plot, heavy on the detail, and frequent head-hopping in an omniscient point of view. But I enjoyed the story and, as a Brooklynite, especially enjoyed the setting. It deserves it's title of classic. ( )
1 vote MarysGirl | Aug 22, 2014 |
http://coffeetalkwitherin.com/2014/01/15/a-tree-grows-in-brooklyn-by-betty-smith...

Every now and then I find books that I just relish. This book is one of them and I can see why it is so highly rated as a modern classic.

For those of you who have not heard of or read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the story follows the Nolan family in Brooklyn, USA at the beginning of the 20th Century just prior to and during the First World War. Although we are privy to the lives of all of the characters and their thoughts, it is really the story of Francie, a bookish young girl who I really connected with as a reader. The Nolans live in the tenements, the slums of Brooklyn and for the most part struggle on a daily basis to find the money for food and the rent. Her father is a likeable and yet a largely hopeless man, addicted to drink and but full of affection and life. He is adored by his daughter despite his shortcomings. Katie, the mother, is a hard working woman and the one who holds the family together, working day and night to ensure their survival. Francie and Katie, although alike, are never close as Katie prefers Neely, Francie's brother.

The novel is largely plotless. There is no central event to base the novel around, rather it is a loving description of the hard and yet often joyful life of the poor in Brooklyn during that period. If you like a fast paced book, this isn't it. Having said that, there are major events, including births, deaths, war and family ties which make it such a strong book and an incredible read.

The book is a true character novel and one of it's most intriguing and lovingly described characters is Brooklyn itself. Betty Smith is also a master at writing from the perspective of a child, obviously drawing on her own life experience as a migrant child in Brooklyn and she brilliantly explores the difficult decisions adults must always make and how they are perceived by the children involved.

I went through waves of like and dislike for Katie, the mother. She is a proud, hard working woman, ever faithful to her likeable but lazy husband, whom the family cannot depend upon for a regular income due to his alcoholic tendencies. As a mother, she at first seems to be the pits. She prefers her son over her daughter, something that is plain to Francie in every way. Despite Neely's disinterest in further education (and Francie's desperation to finish high school) she pushes him to go and Francie into paid employment. She is fully aware of her favour, and although she tries to hide it, it guides many of her choices. She and Francie seem to be so alike that they hardly understand each other, and it isn't until Francie becomes more of a woman that they begin to need each other. And although her affection is greater for Neely, her respect and expectations are much higher for her daughter who she believes will always be greater than the life of poverty that the Nolans have led so far. I liked Katie more with each page turned because she showed her love to her children in ways that are less obvious. She protected them with every floor she scrubbed and that makes a good mother.

Francie is my favourite character for she is a reader and a hard worker like her mother, however she has the softness of her father's character which makes her more empathetic to the needs of others. I loved her journey as a writer as a child, where she writes stories for her teachers and father. There is a scene where a teacher claimed her stories of life in the slums are “filth”. Francie never quite believes her teacher that the truth can be so filthy. Indeed, both she and her brother agree that life in the slums of Brooklyn could never be so fun than it is.

There are so many things I could say about this book, or so many scenes that moved me, such as the one and only time Francie recieves a doll (through the charity of a rich young girl at Christmas) or the scenes when she falls in love. I loved every moment of the final few pages. I drank this book in and I feel better for having read it. ( )
1 vote Erin.Patel | Aug 22, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 240 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Smith, Bettyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fields, AnnaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:37 -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

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
25 avail.
380 wanted
5 pay14 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.34)
0.5
1 8
1.5 5
2 65
2.5 16
3 230
3.5 76
4 761
4.5 137
5 1270

Audible.com

Three editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,742,723 books! | Top bar: Always visible