Sunday, February 2, 2014

#1 Classic book: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (finished today 2/2/14)

I just finished the book, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith.  It took me just 16 days to finish.  That might not seem too fast for some readers but for me that's FAST!  I LOVED the book, I had seen the movie so I knew the basic story.  But the book was so much better!  I loved the way Betty Smith wrote, w/ such details you felt like you were there, living this tale of a dysfunctional but loving family who lived in a very poor neighborhood in Brooklyn in the early 1900's. I found out that the book was basically Mrs. Smith's autobiography, as she had grown up in Brooklyn as well, which helped explain the believability of it,  she retells a story I imagine that was very similar to her own through Francie the main character.  The thing that I found incredible is how much it was for me, easy to relate to her,  because while the time & place may be different from mine.  I, and I imagine most people (girls especially) have felt the same emotions as Francie at one time or another.   I'm also a "thinker" like Francie so I very much related to that, as well as the relationship she has with her hard working mother Katie.  While Katie admits to herself & often shows that she favors her son Neeley.  There is no denying the love she has for both her son & daughter. I think many a person would read this book & find the story sad- and don't get me wrong many parts of it are, the most obvious one is Johnny, Francie's often absent but sweet lovable alcoholic father.  He means the world to Francie, and she feels a special emotional connection to him that is lacking in the relationship she has with her mother.   He is sweet to her, and makes her feel special, and as a young child especially that is what she needs.  I won't give away the story but I will just say,  this book was incredible!  For me the story wasn't so much sad, but real.  Life is hard, and we aren't all born w/ silver spoons in our mouths, and what matter's most is where we go and not where we've been.  I wish I was a little more like determined Francie, who can see the future she wants despite the past she had.    I wish I had read this book a long time ago,  I think it should be mandatory reading for teenage girls. 

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