Monday, June 8, 2009

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Title: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Author: Betty Smith
Genre: Fiction, Classics
Pages: 493
Published: 1943
Date Finished: 5 June 2009
My Rating: 5 Stars
Challenges: 100+, New Author, Chunkster, RYOB, Classic, Spring, Daring Girls

I figured out a long time ago that I generally love character driven novels so it is really not at all surprising that I loved this book, a very heavily character driven novel. But I did not think it lacked plot like I have heard others say. I thought this was a very well plotted coming of age story that gave the reader a look at what life would have been like living in Brooklyn during the early 1900s.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an American Classic that tells the story of three generations of the Nolan and Rommley families. The story focuses mainly on Francie Nolan, a young girl coming to terms with many aspects of her life including hunger, poverty, meanness and death.
While I did not think the book lacked plot, what I did love most about this book were the very richly drawn characters, especially Francie. One of the most interesting character traits I found in Francie was how she tried to find or create order and control where she could since her life was often not what she would have it be. She had to try each flavor of ice cream by going down the list and trying the next one every time they went to the ice cream shoppe and she was reading the books in the library from A-Z. I have to say I loved reading the bit about the books because I attempted something like that once myself. I decided I would start at the A's and work my way through the entire collection all the way to Z. Unlike Francie though I quickly gave up when I went and looked at the first few books in the A section. They all sounded boring.
The book was populated with strong women characters that I could not help but root for as I read. There was Francie herself but also her mother and aunts, women who took control and did not let themselves become victims to circumstance.
Betty Smith's novel tells a beautiful and moving story. I read most of it in one day because every time I set it down to go do something else I found myself drawn right back to the book. I know a lot of people don't see this book in the same light I do, but I really could not put this book down. I just had to keep reading to find out what would happen to Francie and her family. Adding this book to my list of all time favorite books.


Teri said...

I too love this book. I read it when I was in junior high for the first time, and have read it a few time since then. Isn't it interesting how a book can speak to someone, while it leaves another feeling cold? I'm glad you liked it!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Thanks for sharing! I've never read this, but now I hope I can get to it someday.

Jeanette said...

Mrs. Mordecai-You are supposed to be having a baby, not commenting on my blog! Hope that baby decides to make her appearance soon, for your sake. :-)

Shelley said...

I loved every page of this book! It's one I know that I will reread.

Janine said...

Hey! My mom is in your book group, and she told me to check out your blog. I love your reviews...
I'll try to friend you on goodreads, so if you get a strange invite from a janine that's me!

Alyce said...

This is one of my favorite reads from when I was a teen. I re-read it last year and still enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. I'm glad you liked it too!

Serena said...

I reread this a few years ago, and it was slow going for me. It was an ok read for me.

Sharon said...

I read it for the first time not long ago and loved it!

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I LOVE that you loved this book! I LOVED it too. Went down as one of my all time favorites. Would love to re-read it!