Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty SmithA TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN
by Betty Smith

Harper Perennial, 2005
(first published 1943)
Paperback, 493 pages

In Brooklyn grows a singular type of tree that is able to flourish in the poorest of conditions, “the only tree that grew out of cement.” Under such a tree, at the turn of the century, grows a young girl named Francie. With an alcoholic, singing waiter father, a hardened but deeply caring mother, and a charming younger brother, Francie faces all the joys and hardships of growing up in the tenements of Brooklyn — from following musical performers through the streets to selling junk for penny candy, being picked on in school to reading in perfect solitude on a leafy fire escape, and the devastating loss of a loved one to the naive pangs of first love. Continue reading