Daily Archives for: March 16th, 2016

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)

 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, published in 1943, is the best kind of classic — a book that can be revisited at various stages in life. Each time, it can be seen from a different perspective. The overarching theme of this coming-of-age story is the power of family bonds. In a second read-through you might catch some strong feminist themes, and in another, you might focus on what it means to live in poverty in a land of plenty.

Betty Smith drew upon her own childhood to tell the tale of Francie Nolan and her family. Like Francie, she grew up in the tenements of Brooklyn at the dawn of the 1900s. She also borrowed from the various jobs she held to flesh out Francie’s experiences. The family moved around before settling in a top-floor tenement on Grand Street, which served as the inspiration for the Nolan family’s flat in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Read More→


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