Friday, June 14, 2013

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


"From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood."

How could I (like the book's protagonist, a voracious reader since childhood)  have waited till I was seventy to read this wonderful coming of age story? Of course, I've heard of it forever -- the book and I are the same age -- but somehow I never read Francie's story till yesterday. 

A lovingly detailed evocation of immigrant and first generation American life in the tenements of Brooklyn in the early 1900s, it's also a universal story of family ties, of aspiration, of human nature, good and bad. These characters will stay with me.
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Why wasn't this book taught in school when I was growing up? I can only assume its omission in the Fifties (my school years)was due to to its frank approach to sex  -- and later on to some non-politically correct language (accurate for the time in which it takes place.)
 
 Now I wonder what other classics I've somehow missed.
 
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15 comments:

katy gilmore said...

I LOVED that book - and seeing your headline thought, I should read that again!

Ms. A said...

Cool moon shot!

Kath Marsh said...

I know what you mean. I discovered A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as an adult and wondered what I'd been missing! Isn't it great there's so much out there to discover?

Brian Miller said...

havent read it yet, but will now rectify that...

Vicki Lane said...

Brian -- I believe you would appreciate this book.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

What great moonbeams on that last pic.
How did you do it?

Tammy said...

Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith is also good...although it made me tired and sad at times, since they had such a struggle. It is my nieces favorite book.

Tammy

NCmountainwoman said...

When you had a post on favorite childhood books, I listed this as my favorite. I have re-read the dog-eared pages so much I finally purchased the Kindle edition. Reading it is like visiting with an old and dear friend.

Vicki Lane said...

Barb -- it was a kind of wash oy shot taken at twilight. I tweaked it with Picasa's HDR (high density resolution?)

Mountainwoman,I thought I remembered someone or several someones mentioning it.

Tammy, I'll have a look at JOY IN THE MORNING...

Vicki Lane said...

Wash oy? Oy veh! I meant washed out.

Anonymous said...

One of the best books I have ever read is A Cry of Angels by Jeff Fields published in the early 70's and as far as I know his only book. One of those that should be taught in schools set in Ga in the early 50's with an incredible cast of characters and at turns so funny and sad some of the reviews from readers on Amazon do a much better job describing than I am doing. Really a lost classic.

Vicki Lane said...

Thank you, Anonymous -- I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

I first read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" when I had just graduated from college in 1961 and, though through the years, I gradually forgot the plot, I remembered how well I liked it.

Recently, I reread it for a book club. When first beginning it, I noticed how clumsy the sentences seemed to be, short and choppy. As i progressed, the plot and characters captivated me and, once again, I really liked the book! I love the ending, when Francie sees the scrawny tree is thriving, and we as readers realize that Francie and the tree are the same.
Vicki, do you think the reason the sentences were so stark is that there was a different style of writing at that time? Hemmingway comes to mind.

Deana the queena

Vicki Lane said...

Deana -- I took the opening with the choppy sentences to reflect the youth of Francie -- as if she were writing it.

Anonymous said...

I never thought of that, Vicki! I didn't notice that the writing changed as the book progressed.
Deana the queena