Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (#BrooklynReadalong)

At the beginning of February, Lesley from @WordsofaReader put up a Youtube video asking people if they wanted to join her in a readalong of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. This book, like a million others, has been on my TBR list for a while and I really enjoy being able to discuss the books I am reading with others, so I figured I might as well join. I’m really glad that I did, because I absolutely loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and even though I would have read it eventually, it probably would have continuously been pushed to the bottom of my TBR pile. 

A Tree Grows in BrooklynTitle: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Author: Betty Smith
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Publication Date: January 18, 2005
Format: Paperback, 493 pages
Source: Borrowed from Library
5 hippos (out of 5 hippos)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

My Review: 
I honestly don’t even know where to start with this book. It was so cute and written so well, I just… I loved it. I liked the story and the characters and loved that there were a number of humorous sections mixed in with the sadder parts. If you are someone who wants to read more Classics but are worried about the “seriousness” of some Classics, then I highly recommend you start with this Classic. Francie and her adventures are so much fun to read about. It really was a very different life than what we current have. It’s hard to imagine not being able to go to school straight through high school and living off of 5 cent bread and milk. The way Betty Smith wrote the book I felt like I was right there next to Francie experiencing everything with her. I would have loved to have joined Francie on her fire escape to read a book (25) and to read through all the books in the world (if she were alive today she definitely would have been a book blogger!)

Favourite Quotes: 
“Mama said that the Jews had never looked on Jesus as anything but a troublesome Yiddish boy who would not work at the carpentry trade, marry, settle down and raise a family” (12)

“She was richer because she had something to waste” (15)

“Francie thought that all the books in the world were in that library and she had a plan about reading all the books in the world. She was reading a book a day in alphabetical order and not skipping the dry ones” (22)

“The child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believe. She must start out by believing in things not of this world. Then when the world becomes too ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination” (84)

“All of us are what we have to be and everyone lives the kind of life its in him to live” (102)

“The difference between the rich and poor is that the poor do everything with their own hands and the rich hire hands to do things” (394)



One thought on “Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (#BrooklynReadalong)

  1. Pingback: Updates: February Books, Classics Club Update, Chunkster Book Challenge Update and Series Challenge Update | Book Loving Hippo

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