Customer Reviews for

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Average Rating 4.5
( 836 )
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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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