Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943
Many of my friends have told me about this book and it has been on my wishlist for ages. I finally made it. And I am glad I did. A young girl growing up in poverty loves reading. That might have been my story though we were never as poor as the Nolan family. Probably because my father didn't drink and brought the money home he earned through his regular job. But I can totally relate to Francie. How she came to love books and how they became her only friends sometimes. Books are always there for you.
I could also understand Francie's mother Katie, how she tried to save some pennies in order to get food onto the table. It must have been so hard for her.
Francie lived a hundred years ago but her message lives on and is still as valid now as it was back then. With an education, we can get out of the deepest holes.
This book is well written, from the point of view of a girl growing up but with a very adult understanding. It makes you think about life and its meaning.
In any case, I could relate to Francie so well that I just had to love this book. I would have loved to read this when I was young.
From the back cover:
"A profoundly moving novel, and an honest and true one. It cuts right to the heart of life ... If you miss A Tree Grows in Brooklyn you will deny yourself a rich experience... It is a poignant and deeply understanding story of childhood and family relationships. The Nolans lived in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn from 1902 until 1919... Their daughter Francie and their son Neely knew more than their fair share of the privations and sufferings that are the lot of a great city's poor. Primarily this is Francie's book. She is a superb feat of characterization, an imaginative, alert, resourceful child. And Francie's growing up and beginnings of wisdom are the substance of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."