Friday Favorites: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Friday, April 2, 2010

This coming-of-age story follows Francie Nolan and her down and out family in Brooklyn. Beginning when Francie's 12 and ending when she's 17 we see how her loving, but alcoholic father, tough mother and other characters affect Francie and her view of the world.

Unlike many novels, the supporting characters in this story are so complicated. Francie's mother Katie works so hard and truly loves her husband, but can't help resent him for his drinking and the position that puts their family in. Francie's father Johnny isn't your typical drunk either. You can't help but love him, even when he is hurting their family by spending their last pennies on booze. Francie's Aunt Sissy is a sweet woman, but maybe not the best influence on the kids. The characters feel more like your own family than good guy and bad guys in a book. You love them even though they hurt you or make bad decisions.

The setting is also divine. The bustling streets of Brooklyn in the 1930s held so many different cultures, because of all the immigrants who settled in that area. Even Francie's own family is a mix of Irish and Austrian heritages, showing the true meaning of a melting pot society.

I loved this book and completely fell for the character of Francie. I loved reading and school like she did, but it's the dreamy quality she has that got to my heart. She never gave up on her father and he needed someone like her that believed in him so badly. She has such love for the world and hope for her own future, despite her circumstances. I hope that I can keep a little bit of Francie in my heart, even in my most cynical moments.


mee said...

Believe it or not, my mousepad is about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I have not read the book but have been meaning to. (The mousepad was a gift, and it was probably the first time I heard of the book) Glad that you loved it. :)

Ana S. said...

This is one of those classics I can't believe I've yet to read. Must do something about that soon.

Jeanne said...

I loved this when I was young, and reread it a couple of years ago. I was surprised at how bleak it seemed to me as an adult.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Interesting Jeanne. Maybe I'll have to re-read it in a few years and see what I think.

Anonymous said...

Great review! I totally agree about these characters - you can't help but love them, regardless of their flaws.