A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: A Book Review


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Summary: The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

{kindly taken from Goodreads}

My Thoughts: This is the second time I have read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and I enjoyed it just as much, if not more so, than the first time! The beauty of rereading is that you pick up on things that you didn’t catch the first read through. I’m sure that if I were to read this again, I would find even more layers to the story! This book is a true classic, and I will happily recommend it to anyone and everyone :)

Francie Nolan has always lived with little money, but she and her family have always been able to make the best of it. Living in a poor neighborhood of Brooklyn, her destiny seems to be written out, but knowing Francie, she will pave her own path in the world. Francie is an iconic main character. She is right up there with some of my favorites, like Jo from Little Women or Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. She is smart and hard-working, but not perfect. It’s her flaws and mistakes that really add to her as a character. I thought the relationships, between Francie and her family or Francie and the neighbors, were really well-done. The entire book is “quiet,” in that nothing action-packed happened, so it was important that all of the characters were well-developed. Thankfully, they were! A few more people who stood out to me were Francie’s parents, Katie and Johnny. They too were nowhere near perfect, but they had this added quality to them that made them so interesting to read about.

Like I said before, the plot is quiet in a way. It is not quick or fast-paced, but it is not boring either. The story slowly unfolds right before your eyes, and you are able to observe the important moments in Francie’s life. I know a lot of people shy away from the book because of the length, or they tried it and found the first chapter too boring to continue, but I beg you to stick with it. Because, at the very end, you’ll realize just what a classic, beautiful story this has become. It’s no wonder really why it was a choice on my summer reading list!

Overall, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a classic, but unfortunately not as well-read as the others. It truly is a fantastic read, so I encourage you to try it out if you have not done so already. If you have read it, what did you think? I consistently list it as one of my favorite books!

Pros: Strong character development and well-written story.

Cons: The beginning can be hard to get into.

Heads Up: One character drinks a lot, eventually causing a death. There are some scenes that use mature language and/or content.

Overall: I give it 5 stars {*****} and I recommend it for ages 12 and up.

Have a terrific day!

Bella :)


5 thoughts on “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: A Book Review

  1. […] I believe that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will never get old. Although not high-action and certainly not a fluffy, easy read, the story prompts plenty of thinking and reflection on the reader’s part. I love tackling it in the winter, if I can fit it in with my newer books. {review} […]


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