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When You Feel the Need to Read a Good Classic

  • Nov 17, 2008
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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, is named as one of the Century's Best Books by the New York Public Library for a reason. Originally published some 60 years ago, even to jaded readers of modern contemporary fiction, it remains highly readable. Every word.

This was my mother's favorite book. I remember watching the movie with her when I was a child and for these two reasons, reading was slow. I couldn't help but reflect on the story as if they were MY memories rather than the main character's, a young girl named "Francie," growing up in poverty in the early twentieth century. It reads like a series of both heartbreaking and entertaining anecdotes about life among first and second-generation immigrants in Brooklyn, New York. And while you can sense the starvation and the continual worry over making ends meet, through the eyes of the children, Francie and her brother, Neely, and also through their Aunt "Sissy," who absolutely takes a bite out of life, it's difficult to feel sorry for them. They are prideful and make the most of all that they have. There's a scene where the children manage to stay standing as the tree vendor chucks a giant Christmas tree at them on Christmas Eve, which I will never forget. What will also stay with me are the feelings Francie discovers while growing up, about the different kinds of love she had for her family.

I savored each page and didn't want it to end. For all the days I read, it was like spending time with my mom.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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More A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Be... reviews
review by . February 20, 2009
An Elia Kazan Masterpiece yet to be released on DVD...    OK, OK... So what?  The film isn't as wonderful as the book.  They never are.  Because the book is lengthy and takes place from before Francie is born untll after she is 16 years old, the movie concentrates on Francie as a teenager ages 14 - 15.  Also one of Katie's sisters is eliminated and her qualities and quotes from the book are giving to Sissy, somewhat toning down her character. Other characters, …
review by . December 14, 2008
I was forced to read this book by my mother, who was forced to read it by HER mother. I'll be keeping the legacy alive, as my children will DEFINITELY be forced to read this one.     A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is by far my favorite book. Betty Smith's characters are so real and well-developed that I almost feel as if Francie should be alive somewhere as an elderly lady, re-telling her story. Every character in this book is relatable and loveable in their own way, yet I'll always …
About the reviewer
Michele VanOrt Cozzens ()
Ranked #260
I am the mother of two daughters--a tween and a teen. Need I say more about my current state of mind?
About this movie


Movie description The story centers on young Francis Nolan, whose father's sudden death leaves the family to somehow survive in a harsh, desperate time. Like the tree in the back of their house, uncared for and forgotten, their struggle to survive is a valiant one. Based on Betty Smith's 1943 novel. Academy Award Nominations: 2, including Best Screenplay. Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor--James Dunn.

Credits Writer: Frank Davis Producer: Louis D. Lighton Cast: James Gleason, Peggy Ann Garner
Editorial reviews "Kazan avoids romanticizing poverty, and his focus on performance is already firmly in place."
Uncut - Danny Leigh (06/01/2005)

Awards 1945 Academy Awards, Best Supporting Actor: James Dunn
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