A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

Hulloa! I’m back!!

I read a book. I’m reviewing it. The book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.


14891 The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

What I thought:


Haha. So, yes, this is true. A few months ago my friend said that he had a book that he thought that I’d like, and I heard that it was a classic (I tried to be nice about it, but…). Then he forgot. Finally, last month he remembered and brought it to me at church, and since I had library books, I didn’t read it. When I had finished the library books I thought that I might as well and hurry up and get the book over with and pretend to like it.

Well, I really liked it! The almost 500 pages went by in a blur! In the foreword it was saying that there really isn’t a plot, and I agree. But, it still kept my interest!

It takes place in the early 1900s and is about Francie Nolan. Well, it’s about her, but also her family. There’s stuff on her grandmother raising her daughters, how all of Francie’s uncles had died in their late 20s, how Katie (Francie’s mom) met her husband. It’s about so many different people it’s just so cool!


Francie is really great character. I’ve heard that this book is basically an autobiography of Betty White, and if so, I think that I would’ve really have enjoyed Miss White! She’s an introvert who loves to read and write and is just trying to make it through life.

Katie … I had mixed feelings about her. She obviously (and has said) that she much preferred her second child, and it really shows through; and that gave me a dislike for her. But, she was also a no-nonsense in a sort of way that made me also kind of like her.

Johnny, the dad, was a drunk. Yes, he got drunk a decent bit, but he loved his family a lot (especially Francie) and he really wanted to be a better father/husband. I really enjoyed him, and am glad that Francie had him as a father.

And then you have Neeley. He’s Francie’s little brother. I went off and on liking him.

Lastly, you have Sissy. She’s … a piece of work. She finds herself in having children, but all of her ten (!!) children were stillborn, so she hops around from guy to guy. But she really does love her sister’s family.


One of the man reasons that classics are hit-or-miss with me is that the writing style is hard to read. Well, Miss White’s wasn’t even classic-like writing! Well, yes it was. BUT. It was easy to read! And I just enjoyed it a tremendous amount and would definitely like to read more books by her!

And, as I said at the beginning, there really wasn’t much of a plot.


I really didn’t find many-a-problems with this. I mean, there was, but it’s a classic, and it’s kinda hard to pick anything wrong with them!


So this book was definitely a pleasant surprise for me! But there are some things that you should be aware of.

This is a very realistic early 1900s book, so there are obviously so realistic 1900s problems. There is a man who went about raping little girls, and then killing them. He goes after Francie (sorry if that’s a spoiler, but, you know), and that may be a turn off for many. Really, though, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Johnny is a drunk, and there are some other men who get drunk. Sissy jumps from guy to guy, and it sometimes has her with those guys. It shows the gritty side of New York living then. Just stuff like that.

As I said, I really, really liked this book! I’d definitely recommend this to people! It’d be a great classic for teenagers, and they should definitely not miss out on this classic!

Four Stars ∗∗∗∗


So huzzah! All of you congratulate me!  😉 How many of you have read this book or are a lover of classics? Please tell me in the comments below! 😀

8 thoughts on “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

Add yours

  1. My grandma simply ADORES the movie version of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” so I must’ve watched it five times! 😀 I’ve never read the book, but I’ve heard it’s REALLY different from the movie. I’ll have to read it sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. CONGRATULATIONS. *applauds loudly* 😂 I am honestly hopeless at reading classics, but it’s usually the language that totally befuddles me. So if this is more easy-to-read then that’s promising! I MIGHT TRY IT SOMEDAY. *stares at currently ginormous TBR* Someday😂 I’m glad it was a surprisingly glorious read for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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