By Nava Atlas | On | Comments (0)
Betty Smith (1896 – 1972) is best known for her coming-of-age books, most notably, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. This classic novel, beloved by readers for many generations, mirrored the author’s own impoverished childhood.
She was compelled to drop out of school at age 14 and work to help support her family. The challenges of tenement life as seen through the eyes of the novel’s heroine, Francie Nolan, as well as her early jobs, were inspired by Smith’s own experiences. Elements of her life as a young wife and mother came through in the character of Katie, Francie’s mother.