A Tree Grows In Brooklyn was first published in 1943 and has firmly cemented itself as an American Classic novel that should be on everyone's list of books to read at least once in your lifetime. It is the coming of age story of a young girl, Francie Nolan.
We follow Francie through her childhood in the tenements of Brooklyn through her teen years and eventually on the brink of womanhood. It is through her keen observations and wonderful anecdotes that the reader is transported back to the early 20th century. The author explores many themes in this book including poverty, perseverance, and education. The Nolans are a poverty stricken, hard working family that endure many struggles with love, humor and strength.
As Betty Smith writes, "The one tree in Francie's yard was neither a pine or hemlock. Some people called it the tree of heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that grew out of cement. It grew lushly, but only in the tenement districts."