A Tree Grows in Brooklyn | Teen Ink

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

October 11, 2007
By Olivia Anderson, Galesburg, IL

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
When novels are read, whether the readers realize it or not, they
constantly categorize the novels in their minds. Maybe the novel they read was depressing, or maybe the novel they read was complex. Maybe the novel they read was shocking, or maybe the novel they read was humorous. However, in whatever possible category a reader's mind can place a novel, I am thoroughly confident that the novel, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, would have trouble being placed into any of those single categories, if it could even be placed at all. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a story of both love and hatred, a story of both failure and success, a story of both solitude and togetherness, and a story that is both bitter and sweet.

Frances Nolan, often going by the nickname of Francie in the novel, is the main character of this story. Francie, an outsider with her peers, grows up in the slums of Brooklyn during the early 1900's. With her hardworking mother cleaning houses, and her talented but alchoholic father trying to make a living, Francie's family is not looked upon as the most respected family in the neighborhood. However, though Francie's family lives a very hard life, Francie, being strong of heart, learns to persevere through the hardships of her life. She often does this with the help of reading-- her sweet escape—or the companionship of her lovable brother, Neeley.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn interested me because each character is presented in a realistic and interesting way. They are presented only for what they are, nothing better and nothing worse. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is bursting with creativeness, and the mixed feelings it left me with – both happiness and sadness-- was very intriguing. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a timeless novel, and it is one I would absolutely recommend.

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