A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Smith, Betty

Book - 2001
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
A poignant tale of childhood and the ties of family, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" will transport the reader to the early 1900s where a little girl named Francie dreamily looks out her window at a tree struggling to reach the sky.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c2001
ISBN: 0060001941
Branch Call Number: FIC SMITH 2001
Characteristics: xi, 493 p. ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Young Francie Nolan, having inherited both her father's romantic and her mother's practical nature, struggles to survive and thrive growing up in the slums of Brooklyn in the early twentieth century.

From the critics

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Oct 27, 2014

Betty Smith's prose transforms the era with finite details of setting and character. I was totally engaged in Francie's narrative which offered such a realistic portrayal of a working class Brooklyn girl growing up in impoverished Brooklyn with a delightful sense of optimism and humour.

Sep 23, 2014
  • julia_sedai rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I was surprised that this book is recommended for girls because I thought some of the content was really mature. Maybe some people think that's why it's such a good book, but I was glad I didn't read this till I was an adult. It's really well-written and interesting, but not one of my favourites. Still, it does tell you a lot about what life was like back then, and how poor people were.

Jul 14, 2014

Great book...so far
might be a little too slow for some readers but a good read

Jun 02, 2014

If you liked Jeannette Wall's The Glass Castle you might enjoy A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

May 16, 2014
  • klindheimer rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I enjoy the imagery of this lovely novel. It is so vivid and real.

May 07, 2014
  • pritcharda rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This was a great read!

Sep 27, 2013
  • Eil_1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

My brother saw the movie and urged me to see it. Instead I was able to rent it from the library. A family with challenges and told through the eyes of the daughter. Although written decades ago, it is a wonderful story.

Jul 11, 2013
  • platypus101 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This book shows the struggle and hardships needed to obtain the american dream.

Apr 21, 2013
  • bibliomutti rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

After "To Kill a Mockingbird", this is my favourite novel written by an American. Although, obviously, I read it years after its initial publication, I still identified strongly with the protagonist and her story. Very powerful - surprisingly contemporary at times.

Feb 04, 2013
  • blolo rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I really liked this book. Aside from the "coming from nothing" story line, so many of the themes in this book are universally relatable. All of the characters have flaws, but they have redeeming qualities as well. It was so well written, heart-warming and accessible. It strikes me as a book that was really ahead of its time. A lovely read.

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Sep 23, 2014
  • julia_sedai rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

julia_sedai thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Jul 11, 2013
  • platypus101 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

platypus101 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

May 03, 2011
  • rhonda65 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

rhonda65 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Jul 14, 2014

This book follows the life of young Frances (Francie) Nolan. It takes you through her hard life in Brooklyn where Francie soon learns to take care of herself and others having to make sacrifices from a young age for the ones she loves. Francie's thoughtful insight teach many life lessons though seen from her perspective. This novel takes time and you grow alongside with the somewhat out of place Francie, and as it is her life story some readers may find it dull...My first read of this author and very good overall.

Jul 11, 2013
  • platypus101 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The title of this novel refers to a tree that grows persistently up through the concrete and harsh conditions of a poor tenement neighborhood in early 1900s Brooklyn. But it is also a metaphor for the novel's protagonist, Francie Nolan. She is a sweet, innocent girl who grows and flourishes despite a harsh environment of neglect and poverty.

Jul 31, 2012

This novel centers on Francie Nolan's coming-of-age in 1910s and 1920s Brooklyn. Francie starts the novel as a poor 11-year-old girl who loves to read with an alcoholic father who she feels she understands and vice versa. They are both sentimental and talented. Francie's breadwinning mother does not have as healthy as a relationship with her daughter - she favors Francie's younger brother and "always has to have the last word." The novel is character-centric, and has little semblance of a plot


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Jul 14, 2014

"you didn't see the dirt or the meanness; you saw the glory of innocence and the poignancy of a baby growing up too soon."

Jun 26, 2014

"There had to be the dark and muddy waters so that the sun could have something to background its flashing glory" (Smith 165).


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