A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Ashamed that I lived in Brooklyn, loved reading and had never read Betty Smith's classic "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", I tucked my tail between my legs and bought a copy at my favorite out of town bookstore a few months back.
Turns out, Betty Smith grew up only a few blocks away from my apartment and used the streets of her childhood as the setting of her beloved book. The first chapter was filled with the likes of Grand, Graham, Manhattan, Devoe, Metropolitan, Ainslie not to mention the park by my house, the local school, our library, the old Greenpoint hospital.


What a treat to be able to look into my neighborhood 100 years ago with the eyes of a 11 year old girl.

"Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York. Especially is the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better. But it did not apply to to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prairie was lovely and Shenandoah had a beautiful sound, but you couldn't fit those words into Brooklyn. Serene was the only word for it; especially on a Saturday afternoon in summer."

Not true anymore, but that's why it's so dreamy.


14 comments:

  1. I just finally read this last year... it took my a while to get absorbed in it, but once I did I found it was a great story!

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  2. Read this for the first time last year and now it's one of my favorites. I think there is an old movie of it.. I need to find that!

    I am sure it is even more meaningful if you actually do live in Brooklyn:)

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  3. i just finished it before the holidays and hands down it is one of my favorite books! My dear friend Emily Cox recommended it to me, and i cannot thank her enough- it was a special little journey with francie nolan! my favorite character is aunt sissy- i especially love when she gives francie a box of five golden pennies, individually wrapped in tissue paper! how cute is she??
    xoxo
    p.s. i was in nyc this weekend for a quick visit, but i will be back very soon! see you then, i hope.

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  4. Oh, you should read Joy in the Morning next! Major adolescent obsession, around the same time as my Marjorie Morningstar craze.

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  5. An old movie? I must to netflix it! And I'm now hunting down "Joy in the Morning", it sounds pretty dreamy. I do love a young marriage story, so romantic!

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  6. Looks like an amazing book - love the cover too!

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  7. Oh, that book is the loveliest! I first read it when I was thirteen, and it definitely carried me through adolescence.

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  8. This is a classic read. I hope you enjoy it. And yes, I concur with Roberta Jane, it was hard to get into at first but completely absorbing after you get involved in the character's world.

    -Amy

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  9. i haven't read it either. thanks for the tip! :)

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  10. I love this book and own a vintage copy myself. As a child, my mother had us watch the movie, it having been one of her favs. Of course, I cried back then. How fascinating for you to find that the author lived just around the corner.
    smiles
    LiBBy

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  11. it sounds like a good book! i'm going to new york as a birthday present, but it won't be until may time.
    are there any cool places in brooklyn to visit?

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  12. what a beautiful blog btw, i have wasted my whole morning gazing through it - thanks!

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  13. This was one of my most beloved books while I was growing up. I've probably read it five times (and since I'm not a native English speaker, it has taught me many words).

    It must be wonderful to read it when you intimately know the place it is set in. I still haven't made it to Brooklyn. I have to!

    Greetings,
    poet

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