Customer Reviews for

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Average Rating 4.5
( 837 )
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(595)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

62 out of 69 people found this review helpful.

Amazing Story

Francie and all of the Nolans are amazing characters. Each and every one of us today could stand to learn a few lessons from them on what it means to live and survive. Francie is a captivating character from the moment she is introduced. As her audience, you feel her sh...
Francie and all of the Nolans are amazing characters. Each and every one of us today could stand to learn a few lessons from them on what it means to live and survive. Francie is a captivating character from the moment she is introduced. As her audience, you feel her shame, her pain, her innocence, and her joys as she struggles to maneuver her way through life in early twentieth century Brooklyn.

The Nolans are not the only vibrant characters. The Rommely sisters and mother are a treat unto themselves. Each one of them are strong, resilient, and knowledgeable. Again, the lessons they teach on how to live life through the good times and especially the bad, and how to stand together as a family are still valid today.

The novel is set during the early twentieth century, which means that a large majority of the backdrop is quite antiquated. The existence of horse-drawn carriages, words they use, prices of food - as a lover of history, I found these examples charming and fascinating. For me, the lessons about what life was like back then struck home more than any lecture or narrative by an elderly relative. Ms. Smith presents the background with an air of innocence that I'm not certain exists anymore.

I adored this novel. To me, it was extremely calming and uplifting; as one person stated, it was food for my soul. I felt peaceful and rested every time I opened the book, as if for that brief period, my body could completely relax and let itself go. The pictures Ms. Smith paints with words are crystal clear, while the words she uses are melodious. Ms. Smith has created a wonderful example for young girls everywhere on what it means to be strong and never giving up. At so many points in the novel, any one of the Nolans or Rommely sisters could have given up and let life pass them, but they choose to continue to fight the good fight and live the best way they can. Given the economic turmoil in which we currently live, it may be time to revisit these ideas.

posted by jmchshannon on May 10, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Why am I reading this?

This book is well, boring. The vast majority of this book literally put me to sleep. The only reason that I gave this book a rating higher than one star is that the ending is really good. All of the ratings on this website and many others say that this is a great story ...
This book is well, boring. The vast majority of this book literally put me to sleep. The only reason that I gave this book a rating higher than one star is that the ending is really good. All of the ratings on this website and many others say that this is a great story (shoot, the average rating is five stars at this site), so maybe my expectations were too high. I don't know if it's just the genre I dislike, or the fact that this book is probably way deeper than I should be reading, but I could not stand reading this book. Also, it¿s kind of hard for me as a fifteen year-old who has never really had to live in poverty to relate to the characters, especially considering my extended family all died, and this story takes place almost a hundred years ago (I think). I wouldn¿t recommend this book to anybody of my age group, simply because we cannot relate. None of us has ever collected trash to trade in to get money for candy. My aunt (when she was alive) never chased after men, or had ten miscarriages. Maybe this book is just too deep for me to comprehend, but I found it boring and uneventful.

posted by Anonymous on October 31, 2005

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2005

    Why am I reading this?

    This book is well, boring. The vast majority of this book literally put me to sleep. The only reason that I gave this book a rating higher than one star is that the ending is really good. All of the ratings on this website and many others say that this is a great story (shoot, the average rating is five stars at this site), so maybe my expectations were too high. I don't know if it's just the genre I dislike, or the fact that this book is probably way deeper than I should be reading, but I could not stand reading this book. Also, it¿s kind of hard for me as a fifteen year-old who has never really had to live in poverty to relate to the characters, especially considering my extended family all died, and this story takes place almost a hundred years ago (I think). I wouldn¿t recommend this book to anybody of my age group, simply because we cannot relate. None of us has ever collected trash to trade in to get money for candy. My aunt (when she was alive) never chased after men, or had ten miscarriages. Maybe this book is just too deep for me to comprehend, but I found it boring and uneventful.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2011

    Disappointing

    This book had such a good rating but I was so disappointed. The writing was awkward, the characters unbelievable and the story was unappealing. I had to force myself to keep reading and wish I haded wasted my time reading it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2006

    Simply not fun to read

    I also had to read this book over the summer as many others have had to and i found it to be just bad to read. There are very few good things about this book, the ending is okay but the rest is just plain boring. The story is all about how the nolan family lived through hard times. It is too depressing and not fun to read about how bad life could get. I couldn't connect with any of the characters in the book either since i've never had the problems the Nolans did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2005

    Disappointing...

    I had to read this book for school over the summer. I had to force myself to read it. Although this book had a good message, it was dull, uneventful and a waste of my time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2013

    Thunderfg

    Hello.

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  • Posted November 2, 2012

    Barnes and Noble's customer service stinks

    Barnes and Noble's customer service stinks Barnes and Noble's customer service stinks Barnes and Noble's customer service stinks Barnes and Noble's customer service stinks

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    Beautiful story, but too much adult content

    Betty Smith does a marvelous job illustrating the life of Francie, and while awful things happen during Francie's life, I do not feel that it was necessary to include them in the book in order to have a good story. I would not recommend this book for anyone under 16, and even then . . . only read if you like historical fiction novels that portray everything that happens during that time, even if it means adult content presented in vivid detail.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Splashpaw

    Ok.... ok ok ok. Um... whos medicine cat? -gave Lemonsplash some poppyseeds to ease rhe pain-

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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