Need to Read: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
I just finished this book today. I started it at the beginning of the semester and then my life got all crazy, so that brings me to today when I finally sat down with Francie Nolan and allowed her to finish her story. Now, I can’t study because my brain is still digesting the maze of Brooklyn that Francie described. She said it was magical, a kind of magic that you could only understand if you lived there, that it was a conglomeration of everything good and bad in the world.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, is the story of Francie Nolan as a small child growing into a young adult. She experiences so much in such a short amount of time. As a reader, you really know Francie, which I think is really special because most of the characters in her tale, outside her family members, don’t seem to know her at all. She made the smallest things wonderful, like reading on the fire escape or writing compositions for school. Francie was a grown-up child and a child-like adult all at once. Her curiosity never changes. She is always a creature of wonder.
Her story, unlike most, does not build up to a single event. It is a constant stream of events, some important and some not-so-much. Her story is her life and I highly recommend that you take part in it. She knows that joy and heartache walk hand in hand, and she makes the best of her situation whether she is gathering junk for a meager ten cents or working as the head reader in a major newspaper distribution office. She is humble and courageous and a delight to get to know.
My advice is to read this book in a week or two and not spread it out like I did. It is something that I think I will read over and over again. That’s how I gauge the importance of books, whether I would want to read it again. I think that you need to read something more than once to fully grasp its importance or its special-ness. A good book can be read several times and still offer some new wisdom or mirth that was previously unnoticed.