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.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I know I'm going to be shot down in flames for not enjoying this as much as other readers, but for me it was slow going. I can appreciate its merit as a study of a bygone era and there was much to admire in the characterisations, but a book is not enjoyable if I have to force myself to pick it up.I was reading it for a book group and the ensuing discussion was excellent but it put me in mind of Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which I also found hard work.The Nolans are a poor Brooklyn family with an industrious mother but an alcoholic father. Not a nasty alcohlic, in fact a fun loving, gentle alcoholic, but not a regular wage earner. The two children, Francie and Neeley, do everything they can to help bring in a few extra coins and the family scrapes by.As the years pass we follow the family's fortunes through Francie, the eldest, as she goes out into the workplace at 14 and starts to earn a living.Interestingly, much of the book seems to be autoboigraphical as Betty Smith was born in Brooklyn at about the same time as Francie and would have lived a similarly difficult life. Her Bio does not mention if her father was an alcoholic but no doubt she would have had neighbours with similar problems.I can see why this has become a classic and the other memebers of our book group gave it high marks, just not my cup of tea.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I know I'm going to be shot down in flames for not enjoying this as much as other readers, but for me it was slow going. I can appreciate its merit as a study of a bygone era and there was much to admire in the characterisations, but a book is not enjoyable if I have to force myself to pick it up.I was reading it for a book group and the ensuing discussion was excellent but it put me in mind of Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which I also found hard work.The Nolans are a poor Brooklyn family with an industrious mother but an alcoholic father. Not a nasty alcohlic, in fact a fun loving, gentle alcoholic, but not a regular wage earner. The two children, Francie and Neeley, do everything they can to help bring in a few extra coins and the family scrapes by.As the years pass we follow the family's fortunes through Francie, the eldest, as she goes out into the workplace at 14 and starts to earn a living.Interestingly, much of the book seems to be autoboigraphical as Betty Smith was born in Brooklyn at about the same time as Francie and would have lived a similarly difficult life. Her Bio does not mention if her father was an alcoholic but no doubt she would have had neighbours with similar problems.I can see why this has become a classic and the other memebers of our book group gave it high marks, just not my cup of tea.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
No rating provided
Enjoyable but not my genre; will be a classic.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
scribd