Reader reviews for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant coming of age story. The reading level of the book is really meant for teen and adult readers although Francie, the main protagonist is very young throughout the majority of the book. Francie is loaded with a great deal of responsibility in her life and she handles everything with maturity beyond her years. She is a very giving and caring young girl who suffers silently as she makes huge sacrifices for the survival of her family. The Nolans, are a second generation immigrant family from Ireland. The family deals with alcoholism, death, unemployment, and poverty. This work of historical fiction would be an excellent reference for anyone studying life in urban America in the early 1900’s for immigrants. Early employment movements, the education system, child inoculations and changes that came to the United States with the beginning of World War I are all mentioned in this novel.
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As I get older I realize how important it is to choose your close friends carefully. A great friend gave me this book and it reinforced all the things which have created the foundation for our twenty year friendship. Reading this book is like getting a glimpse inside of a beautiful soul. This story and these characters will change a person's view of themselves and the world around them.
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It seems like this is quite a popular children's book in the US, but I'd never heard of it until it became a group read in one of the groups here on Librarything.I am happy I discovered this book, it's a lovely story! The book tells about a young girl in poor New York, who discovers a love of reading and learning and is determined to get an education. A lovely story, with very vivid descriptions of life in Brooklyn, and a very loveable protagonist.
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This was a book that was definitely worth revisiting. There are some that I fear will lose magic if I read them again as an adult, but happily A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was not one of those books.This book is lush in detail, funny, heart-breaking and a sensitive portrait of a struggling family in difficult situation. I used to think Francie was like me, because she was creative and wanted to write... now, I identify with the whole of the Nolan extended family: Johnny's disillusionment, Katie's frustration, Sissy's desire for a baby, Neely's musical talent. These are all such vivid characters that I feel that they leap off the pages.I teach in Williamsburg now and today's Williamsburg is a very different place than the one that Betty Smith describes so well. But elements of that time and place are still there and maybe if I look closely, I will see Francie as I walk to the train on Marcy Ave.
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Oh my what a trip into the past this was. I read this book several times as a child. In fact, I was about Francie's age when I first read it. My only memory was of a girl in a window and a tree. For some reason that image stayed with me more than the story. I can't say that the story came back to me as I read, it did not. This was good, in that it was like reading and discovering it all over again. No wonder I read it time after time. In so many ways my own life mirrored Francie's.Even to the picking up of trash ( bottles) along the roads ( alleys) and turning them in for money for treats. We too, were less than wealthy, but such is life. Better times came for us. As for Francie? Life is what you make it, don't you think? And Francie was a strong young girl, who grew into a strong and intelligent young woman. She came form a family of strong women, who knew how to keep family together and how to do whatever needed to be done. The poor can't afford much, and being squeamish is one of those things. I'd like to lift a glass to the Francie the woman, and the women around her who taught her how to be the best she could be. We can overcome a lot if we put our minds to it. This story was dated in some ways, but oh so current in others. After all these years there are still children who don't know where their next meal will come from, men who just don't have it in them to stand strong and do what is needed and women who make up the difference and stand with their shoulders against the door to keep out the wolf called hunger and keep in the warm called love. highly recommended.
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Why did I wait all these years to read this book. What a wonderful book.Francie makes you love her and embrace all her hardships and make them yours....you want to help her get out of her dismal life.She is so refreshing and inspiring despite her place in life and the fact that she keep trying to win the love of her mother.
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A triumphant coming of age story for any woman to read. The story of a young girl growing up in Brooklyn and the struggles she faces in her journey to adulthood. So lovely and heart warming, if it isn't already, it should be named an American Classic. I highly recommend this book, I can't wait to read it again and again.
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The Nolans are a German-Irish family of immigrants in the early 1900s. They struggle to get by, especially with dad being an alcoholic. However, they never accept charity. One way or another, they will do whatever is needed to get by on their own. It means doing without. It means hard work. It means the utmost of frugality. It means saving, even though they hardly have enough money to put bread on the table. And it means finding a way to go to college, not just for a better future, but because they sincerely believe in the power of knowledge.
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The wonderful story of a young girl, Francie Nolan, growing up in a tenement in 1912 Brooklyn. Her alcoholic father is a charming Irishman with a lovely voice who is a singing waiter when he's able to work. Francie's mother is a hard-working scrubwoman who maintains her dignity and instills in her children the value of education. Francie loves books and school, but finds only indifference in teachers and librarians. One summer she determines to read a book a day beginning at the A's in the library and reading systematically through the Z's. The librarian never looks at her. A moving story of the will to overcome in a family where charity is a dirty word, deprivation a daily given and hard work and delayed gratification the road to success.
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This is proably one of the best coming of age novels I have ever read. The story centers around a young girl by the name of Francie Nolan. She lives in Brooklyn, New York during the early part of the 1900's. Where most girls are content with growing up and getting married, Francie wants more from life. She wants to go to college and become a writer. Francie is a very strong female character who over comes the odds of a life of poverty. Excellent story! If you enjoyed "Angela's Ashes" you will like this book.
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