I just finished reading a great book which I would like to recommend, it’s called ‘A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’. It was written in 1943 by Betty Smith, and it sold 300,000 in the first six weeks after publication. Today is can be found on the curriculum of many American schools, and the New York Public Library chose it as one of the ‘books of the century’.
The book is about the Nolan family, and ,the main protagonist is Francie Nolan. the daughter of Katie and Johnny Nolan, both immigrants. It deals with her life growing up in Brooklyn at the turn of the century. The story is set in the slums of Brooklyn, and deals with the struggle of the family to survive. The author grew up in Brooklyn and therefore drew on some of her own experiences to write it. However it was not received well by everyone, some people found the detail of the lives of the tenement dwellers unsavory, and there was a lot of controversy over it.
The characters in the book are very well drawn, and in particular that of Francie, who is a tenacious, intelligent girl, and one gets a sense from the start of the story that she is destined for better things in life, however she has to learn to deal with death, poverty, cruelty, hunger, disadvantage and discrimination at every stage of her Young life.
The strength of the women in her own family and in her extended family is a prominent feature of the book. Her mother Katie had to develop a hard side to her to cope with her alcoholic husband and the sheer hardship of her life.
I won’t give any more detail of the book, other than to say in is a great read and in it we get historical glimpses into the everyday life and times of the people of that part of Brooklyn in the early 1900s. I highly recommend this book.
Other Books I Have Read Recently.
Downtown. My Manhattan, by Pete Hamill.
Our man In Paris, by John Lichfield.
The Hare With Amber Eyes, A Hidden Inheritance, by Edmund De Waal.
I loved all of these books, and I am just about to start, Storyteller, The Life Of Roald Dahl, by Donald Sturrock.