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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith – Review by Kaela

There were three people who recommended this book to me and all of them couldn’t explain why they liked it so much. Now after reading it, I love it just as much as them only I’ll try to explain why.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn - CD coverA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is a realistic fiction novel about young Francie Nolan growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. This novel also describes her family dynamics and where her roots trace back to. That’s to say, the book not only focuses on Francie, but also about her family’s lives and origins. It explains all her hardships and how in spite of them, Francie doesn’t lead a horrible life. Throughout the book, it talks about Francie’s love for reading and education.

If you’re someone who loves reading things in fine detail, this book would be perfect for you. Smith describes everything down to the dot, from settings to characters to events. All of them can create such clear images in your mind that it almost makes you feel like you’re there with the characters.

Another great thing about the detail is that it makes the characters seem that much more real. The book describes the characters' thoughts and actions, so you can understand their motivation for why they do the things they do. I found I could relate to almost every character on some level because of this.

The best part was that I could connect with Francie’s character a lot. She had a lot of strength, determination and ambition, but she was also a dreamer. Education was something very important to her and her family because it promised a better life. Lastly, Francie always had a passion for reading from the moment she learned how.

I definitely would recommend this book to other people. It has all my favourite elements of a good story: it was happy, romantic and funny, but heartbreaking too. As the book goes on, you really fall in love with the characters and hope the best for them. I think that’s what makes this book so good, it’s because you can connect to these characters and their realistic story line.

If all of this piques your interest, there are copies of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in the form books and books on CD at Halifax Public Libraries.


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