Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: January 2005
First Publication Date: 1943
ISBN-13: 9780060736262
Pages: 528
Ratings: 4 out of 5

Summary: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the story of Francie Nolan, a thirteen year old growing up in Brooklyn at the turn of the century. It is also the story of her family struggling to get out of poverty.

Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was one of the books I chose to read in the Classical Challenge this year. The main character was Francie Nolan who dreamed of having a better life. As the oldest of the three children, she continued to study and work hard so she can become the first one in her family to go to college.

At first, I really didn’t know where the book was going. The beginning was fine, but towards the middle, my interest started to wane. Things began to pick up after a death in the family. The tragedy made the Nolan family closer, and it also made me feel closer to the characters. The author also included some humor towards the end, and the ending was really great. I felt that the author kind of let loose by then because the majority of the book was very serious.

Probably one of the most admirable characters in the book was Katie Nolan. As a wife of an alcoholic, she had to be the strength of the family. I really liked the part where Francie and Katie became close even after their misunderstandings.

Even though it took me awhile to warm up to this book, I consider this as a great read.

Recommendation: I recommend this if you like...
1. A coming of age story
2. A story of triumph even after heartaches and hardships
3. Historical fiction


  1. I read this one a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. I didn't have any trouble warming up to this one, but one of the other girls in the book club did. I'm glad you stuck with it and ended up enjoying it.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  2. Oh, I'm glad I did too, Anna. I would have missed a great book.