Frannie Nolan is an Irish girl being raised by two working class parents in Brooklyn, New York. She learns as much from the streets of her neighborhood as she does from the books she borrows. The cast of characters is colorful, diverse and always interesting. This has been my all time favorite book since I was 11 years old and I recommend it to everyone who asks. It's one of the best coming of age stories and is a perfect blend of the harsh realities and quirks of life.
A PBS Great American Read Top 100 PickThe beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century. From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family's erratic and eccentric behavior--such as her father Johnny's taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy's habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce--no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans' life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans' daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from "junk day" on Saturdays, when the children of Francie's neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences--a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.