Day 16 – A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN
I read this book in college for a Theology & Literature class.
We had one paper for which we could choose a book outside the syllabus, and I chose this one. My professor was intrigued, but we’d read Silence (Endo) and Babette’s Feast (Dinesen) and Night (Wiesel), and I thought, how about this lovely little book about a young girl and her family who had to survive bias, alcoholism, poverty and other challenges in turn-of-the-century (20th century, that is) New York, while keeping her own dreams and creativity alive?
He wasn’t sure it was weighty enough next to the powerhouse novels we’d read so far, but I convinced him. What was more spiritual than the questions a girl faces when her father is an alcoholic dreamer and her mother is a relentless pragmatist; when her environment is brutal and she’s a shy misfit who believes in books and education?
Have you read it? At times charming, at times horrifying, it is a coming-of-age story, but so much more. A snapshot of days gone by; a reminder of human challenges that never change, no matter the age; and a lovely testament to the power of books.
Are you a fan?
From the book cover:
The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century.
From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior—such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce—no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children of Francie’s neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences—a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.
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A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – @ Amazon
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