3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I finished this book in three days. Okay, maybe some of you aren’t impressed by that, but after spending 4 weeks trying to finish my last book, 3 days is pretty damn impressive. And I wasn’t even planning on finishing it in three days. I didn’t even need to plan anything with this book. I didn’t need to monitor how many chapters I read in one day. There was none of that forcing-myself-to-read kind of thing happening. I actually liked doing it and before I knew it, I finished this book in three days.

This book reminds me a little of Anne of Green Gables because we really follow Francie’s life from childhood to adulthood. And I appreciated all of the background information for all of the other characters. Betty Smith did a really good job of integrating the lives of other characters in there, while making sure to keep Francie the main character. Anything she mentioned about the other characters had some relation to Francie’s character and can be used to further analyze the main character. Which is why some characters were given more attention than others. For example, I liked knowing a lot of background information on Katie and Johnny. And I enjoyed Sissy’s story. But I felt like the attention on Neeley and Evy was lacking, and I guess it’s because they didn’t really have that much of an effect on Francie’s own character. Neeley would always be mentioned to contrast with Francie, maybe physically, but we never really get an insight as to how Neeley grew up as an individual while being in the same household as Francie. Which is fine, I guess, but still, it would have been nice to know just a little bit more about those two characters.

I loved the Rommely sisters. I loved how all the main women in this book are such strong characters and Johnny Nolan and their other male counterparts are weak. Makes me want to become a feminist. And I could definitely relate to Francie. I, too, did not have friends when I was young. I was what youngsters these days like to call a “loner.” Of course, I’m not a loner anymore. (I have over 200 friends on Facebook.) But still, I knew what it felt like to be alone and you know what, it builds character. So suck it.

I’m sorry that was inappropriate.

Anyway, it’s amazing what they had to go through. They were poor, but I loved how they found joy in the little things, like a spoonful of condensed milk or a cup of coffee. And they were street smart, too. And I’m kind of jealous that they live in New York. (Don’t worry, soon I’ll come for you.) But this is what I’m talking about. Sometimes, I want to be poor when I grow up so that my children can build character and take pleasure in simple things like a tree fighting to grow through the concrete sidewalks of Brooklyn. And so that they can grow up to say things like:

“I don’t need to drink to get drunk. I can get drunk on things like the tulip–and this night.”

Finally, someone understands me.

"...I guess being needed is almost as good as being loved. Maybe better."

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