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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Modern Classics)


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Modern Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9780061120077
ISBN10: 0061120073
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

A book dealer came into Powell's rare book room one day while I was working and bought a beautiful first edition of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She said it was her favorite book and a birthday present to herself. From the look in her eye and the way she clutched it in her hands, I knew I had to read it. It is a lovely story about Francie Nolan, a young girl growing up in the slums of Brooklyn. She ultimately discovers that people, like trees, can sometimes flourish in the most dismal conditions.
Recommended by Kate L.,

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

About the Author

Betty Smith was born Elisabeth Wehner on December 15, 1896, the same date as, although five years earlier than, her fictional heroine Francie Nolan. The daughter of German immigrants, she grew up poor in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the very world she recreates with such meticulous detail in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Smith also wrote other novels and had a long career as a dramatist, writing one-act and full-length plays for which she received both the Rockefeller Fellowship and the Dramatists Guild Fellowship. She died in 1972.

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genesisbrito0695, August 5, 2014 (view all comments by genesisbrito0695)
On the novel, “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” lots of things happen that happened back then things that we will be surprised to see today. This story is fiction. In this story there were four main characters’ that were involved in everything in this book. Betty Smith wrote this book as the experiences she went through growing up in Brooklyn. She wrote about the Nolans family because those were the type of people she knew and they typed of people she liked. This story has been known as a classic novel good for any young adult entering adulthood and escaping from a bad childhood.

Francie Nolan was one of the main characters in a Tree Grows In Brooklyn. She was a second generation of American. Francie knows that she isn’t beautiful but she is a generous and loving child and grows up becoming a better adult. Katie Rommely Nolan is Francie mother. She comes from a family with strong women. When she really needs to accomplish anything she finds a way to succeed. Johnny Nolan is Francie father he is a very weak man. He is unable to help his family out on the way they live. Neeley Nolan is francie brother he is a year younger than her. Neeley and Francie are really close to each other.

When I first received the book it didn’t seem as good as it was. I never expected myself to read this whole book witch at the beginning I didn’t want to read it because it didn’t seem interesting. I really recommend anyone to read this book it’s a really good book you will enjoy it. You would really see how life was back then and see what young children have had to go through. They just were trying to see their family improve and live better then what they were living in.

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mwadie, August 5, 2014 (view all comments by mwadie)
Mena, a college freshman at New Jersey City University (NJCU)
The novel A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is written by Betty Smith. She received the Rockefeller Fellowship and the Dramatists Guild Fellowship. The book is fiction and it’s very easy to read. The title of the book is a metaphor of the main character who is Francie because she was the only girl in her neighborhood that seeks education. Some other main characters are Katie and Johnny Francie’s parents, and Neeley Francie’s brother.
Francie lived at Brooklyn, which is a very poor place, with no education and no food. Francie’s parents financially struggled. They were very poor, later her dad dies, and she struggles even more. Even though Francie wants to go to school she goes to work.
In my opinion I admired this book very much, especially because I’m an immigrant myself, and I also struggled and have a dream of my own to follow. I recommend this book to anyone with low self-stem because it encourages people to follow their dreams regardless of the struggles. Overall, it’s a great book because of its simplistic writing, and way of inspiring people.
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Breanna , August 4, 2014 (view all comments by Breanna )
In the novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, written by Betty Smith, she tells a story about the Nolan family in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is based in poverty and proves how people can overcome their struggles. This novel was easy to read and very realistic which makes it more interesting. The title fits the novel because the tree that grew in Brooklyn symbolizes how beautiful things can grow no matter the environment. In the story, Francie talks about the one tree that was planted in her yard and says “No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky.” In other words, no matter where we were created, growing up is a struggle. That does not mean that we can’t overcome our problems or strive to become who we want to be.
There were many unique characters but the main ones were Francie Nolan, Katie Nolan, Neeley Nolan, and Johnny Nolan. Francie was filled with curiosity and loved to learn anything and everything. She always strived to be the best she can be. Katie (Francie’s mother) was like Francie in many ways, but because she had to care and provide for her family (which wasn’t a problem to her); she couldn’t be as successful as she could’ve been. Neeley was Francie’s little brother. Just like any little brother, he was sometimes annoying, lazy, but definitely loved his family. Johnny (Katie’s husband) always had a positive mindset, but was also a drunk.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was a good book which contained real life situations. Reading this book made me see life from a different point of view because the Nolan family struggled living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, yet they still did whatever they could. For example, Katie Nolan had Francie when she was eighteen (which today, many females become pregnant at a young age). She had two kids, no job, wasn’t educated, but she never gave up. She did whatever she was able to do in order to make sure her kids were well taken care of. This book proves that anyone can get through life no matter what problems occur.
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Product Details

Smith, Betty
Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Foreword by:
Quindlen, Anna
Quindlen, Anna
by Betty Smith
Brooklyn (new york, n.y.)
General Fiction
Domestic fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.29x5.51x1.49 in. 1.19 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Children's » Classics » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture
Young Adult » General

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Modern Classics) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 528 pages HarperCollins Publishers - English 9780061120077 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A book dealer came into Powell's rare book room one day while I was working and bought a beautiful first edition of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She said it was her favorite book and a birthday present to herself. From the look in her eye and the way she clutched it in her hands, I knew I had to read it. It is a lovely story about Francie Nolan, a young girl growing up in the slums of Brooklyn. She ultimately discovers that people, like trees, can sometimes flourish in the most dismal conditions.

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