Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

by Betty Smith
New York : Trumpet Club, 1989, c1947.

Francie lives with her brother Neeley and their parents, Katie and Johnny, in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. They're a poor but hardworking family determined to make better for each generation. Though we're given information about both parents and their families, this is primarily Francie's book, as we see her grow from a child into a teenager with big dreams.

This is the type of story that's primarily about character and writing. Francie is the one we're rooting for primarily, but we're given enough information to sympathize with her family, such as her hardworking, no-nonsense mother Katie, and even her father, Johnny, a talented singer who has a weakness for drink. I felt with her every roadblock, every trial and joy. I enjoyed the style of writing, a descriptive narration that would often tell me a back-story or information about what a secondary character was thinking, and sometimes tended towards the flowery, but I could definitely see this style annoying someone else (even me, if I was in a different mood). This was my first time reading this classic, and certainly won't be the last.

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