A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

This is the book for book club this month. A long novel by Betty Smith, it is the tale of a young girl living in the early 1900s. Yet it is not only her story. As all lives do, Francie's tale is entwined with the stories of her parents, her brother and later a sister, grandparents, aunts and uncles, school mates, teachers, employers and neighbors. The story gives an adequate glimpse of American life in a New York suburb prior to the outbreak of WWI.

While I found the book interesting, it was slow reading. The story moves forward and backward in time so readers expecting an always-forward-moving tale may be confused at times. For me, the book was more about comparisons than history. Reading of the hard life of the working class, the huge disparity between the haves and have-nots, led to reflection on the luxuries we have today and the values we have given up. While maybe not a Must-Read for everyone, those who enjoy reading will gain their own perspective of Brooklyn.


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