“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” is a coming-of-age story that chronicles the life of Francie Nolan. The title of might seem a bit obscure, but the author does a good job of explaining its significance and draws upon this metaphor as we watch Francie grow up in Brooklyn in the early 1900’s.
The book included interesting tidbits from life in the early 20th century and some nuggets of wisdom. One passage that stood out was, “They learned no compassion from their own anguish. Thus their suffering was wasted.” That is a great life lesson for everyone to learn when they go through hard times.
I found it interesting how Francie’s mother was completely against any form of charity, and she was determined to get by on her own hard work and merits even if that meant some cold, hungry nights. Imagine what our society would be like today if people took their own fortunes into their hands and were willing to work hard for a living!
I thoroughly enjoyed sharing in Francie’s highs and lows as she endured some hard times, but still managed to have some fun along the way. The episodes recounted in the book had me smiling at times, angry at the injustices Francie encountered, and sad at times as Francie learned some of life’s hard lessons. I recommend the book to anyone looking for a good family story, a look at life nearly a 100 years ago, and a story of hope and possibility...Continua
Un magnifico romanzo autobiografico ed un reportage sociale che racconta di una New York molto diversa da quella attuale in cui immigrazione e povertà sono ben presenti nelle vite della famiglia Nolan mentre tenta di sopravvivere in qualche modo negli stenti ed incertezze dei primi anni del '900....Continua
Historia situada en un barrio de Nueva York a principios de siglo XX, contada por Francie una niña con 8 años al principio de la novela y que termina cuando ésta tiene 18. En ese intervalo, discurre una historia donde se respira barrio, familia, sentimientos, escasez, alegrías, tristezas... Un libro relleno de vida, donde todo evoluciona con el desarrollo de la protagonista, de forma que en un principio la novela es como la historia de las cosas pequeñas, de los detalles, que van llenando la vida de una niña. Cuando ésta crece, también la novela gana en sentimiento y fuerza. En resumen, una gran novela donde la vida es la gran protagonista....Continua
“Dear God,” Francie prayed, “let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry ... have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere—be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”
Francie Nolan, was of all the Rommelys and all the Nolans. She had the violent weaknesses and passion for beauty of the shanty Nolans. She was a mosaic of her grandmother Rommely’s mysticism, her tale-tell¬ing, her great belief in everything and her compassion for the weak ones. She had a lot of her grandfather Rom¬mely’s cruel will. She had some of her Aunt Evy’s talent for mimicking, some of Ruthie Nolan’s possessiveness. She had Aunt Sissy’s love for life and her love for chil¬dren. She had Johnny’s sentimentality without his good looks. She had all of Katie’s soft ways and only half of the invisible steel of Katie. She was made up of all of these good and these bad things.
She was made up of more, too. She was the books she read in the library. She was of the flower in the brown bowl. Part of her life was made from the tree growing rankly in the yard. She was the bitter quarrels she had with her brother whom she loved dearly. She was Katie’s secret, despairing weeping. She was the shame of her father staggering home drunk.
She was all of these things and of something more that did not come from the Rommelys nor the Nolans, the reading, the observing, the living from day to day. It was something that had been born into her and her only¬—the something different from anyone else in the two families. It was what God or whatever is His equivalent puts into each soul that is given life—the one different thing such as that which makes no two fingerprints on the face of the earth alike.
Francie Nolan was like a a tree that grows in Brooklyn.
Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No
matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly ... it survives without sun, water, and seemingly without earth. It would be considered beautiful except that there are too many of it.
That was the kind of tree in Francie’s yard. But this tree in the yard—this tree that men chopped down ... this tree that they built a bonfire around, try¬ing to burn up its stump—this tree lived! It lived! And nothing could destroy it.