General View

A character-driven book. A well-written classic that most girls read or receive  as present.

I have mixed feelings about the book… Actually, I thought to drop it in the mid-way through the book but I wanted to give it a chance and at some point I got connected to it and felt kind of sad when I turned the last page in the end. I have left it unread, I would have given it one star out of five but eventually I gave it five stars. I guess that character-driven books do not perfectly fit me.  In my humble opinion, it is a matter of taste and choice whether you rather prefer  slowly developing stories with an emphasis on characters or you would like to feel an instant thrilling plot.

The book, turned into a movie in 1945 directed by Elia Kazan, could be to some extend a precious occasion to reflect on the values, features and problems of the American society of the time. To illustrate, the novel has many highlights about customs, ghetto of Brooklyn, immigrants and view on Germans and so fort.

Main Characters and Plot

A tree Grows in Brooklyn is a fiction novel that tells a long life story of the Nolan family in New York’s Brooklyn neighbourhood for about 20 years. Nolans with Irish roots is a family of four including father Jhonny, mother Katia, the little boy Neeley, and one year older Francie.

Francie is a well-constructed character with imagination. She has emotional breakups but also little things to be happy throughout the book. Each member  of the family was described comprehensively so that readers feel the life of Nolans in themselves.

Some actions and behaviours of the main character, Francie, mentioned at the start of the novel do not linked to the story in the rest of the book  such as her being a bookworm. I expected to see many references to what she read on daily basis to her thoughts, imagination, and feelings as a mirror.

At some parts of the book, I had empathy with the characters especially Francie with what she felt about the fight with starvation and struggle to live.  I have came across with many comments on the novel about how people felt sorrow for the family and the girl and even sobbed. This is the proof of writer’s ability to catch readers’ attention. Betty Smith did a great job in this respect.

Final Verdict

Overall, it is absolutely a must-read historical fiction. Yet be patient. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will catch you even if you are resistant like me.

Favourite Quotes

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”

“Forgiveness is a gift of high value. Yet its cost is nothing.”

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Full Movie


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