A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a semi-autobiographical tale of a young girl growing up in poverty in Brooklyn in the early 20th century. Her mother works as many jobs as there are days in the week to put food on the table, while her father, full of love, is too stuck in his past musical career to provide for the family. Francie’s own needs are often pushed to the side so that her younger brother will be able to advance in his life. Although faced with hunger, and few opportunities for advancement, Francie manages to find a path from rags to riches using her creativity, intellect and love of reading to help her make the right decisions along the way.
I adored this book, and I have very few words to describe how I feel about it. I related very strongly to Francie throughout the book. Although I didn’t grow up dirt-poor the way she did, I did grow up in a struggling family. Books were my saving grace as I was too shy and awkward to have many friends. I loved Francie’s passion for not only books, but for her family and for life in general. She has a unique outlook on life that made her more mature for her years. This book is really inspirational and full of emotional ups and downs of any family struggling to ends meet.A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith Harper Perennial, 1943 ISBN 9780060736262 493 pages