I have heard things about this book from various people and no one seems to be able to put into words what they like about it, what makes it a worthy classic, and what the book is even really about. After listening to it I see why no one can explain these things. I can't seem to either. But I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Characters that feel "real" (not all evil or all good, JUST HUMAN), I do not care for female readers but I will say that Kate Burton did an excellent job, especially with the accents. I beautiful coming of age novel in hard times, with interesting and intricate details of the mundane parts of life that people go through every day. I would say that if you are considering this novel, just take a chance and try it. While not on my top 10 list of books I have read in recent years, still an excellent read with interesting characters just trying to live life with what they have been given.
The last time I read this book I was Francie's age; I loved this book as a child. Now I'm Katie's age, and it's even better than I remember. Maybe you have to be a parent yourself to understand just how wonderful it is. This book deservedly turns up on lists of fiction for young people all the time, but it deserves a place among the great literature of the US. I'm a big snob about literature, too, so I don't say it lightly. Some of the ethnic tropes are a little troubling, but given that the book was published by a white author in 1943 it wasn't as bad as I expected. Kate Burton does very well, even if her old-school Brooklyn accent isn't 100% accurate. The only true detraction is the long, disruptive, and anachronistic jazz interludes in between sections. Still completely worth your listening, though.
This book took me a long time to complete. I started listening to it on morning walks when visiting my family for Christmas. I just finished it in mid July. I think it was one of those books that was not so engrossing that I could not put it down, but it was a book that I would gladly return to. I am not sure what to say that other reviewers have not; as a married man in my 20's I found this to be a wonderful read that placed you in a little girl's life in early 20th century Brooklyn. I found myself often feeling the pain that I am sure Francie's father felt when reading.
I read this the first time as a junior high schooler and then several times into young adulthood. I would say it was one of my favorites. I got to wondering as I am now in my 60s whether I would like it as well now. I chose it as our next book club book partly because I was curious to know how I would feel about it as a much more mature woman. I still loved the book! It was funny, touching, sad, depressing but mostly a story of perseverance. I liked Francie as much today as I did many years ago...maybe more because I've lived so much more since my early teens. I highly recommend it to young adults as well as anyone who wants a really great story. I also plan on reading another one of Betty Smith's books "Joy in the Morning". I have stored away some place a very tattered paperback that I plan to find. It is another wonderful book by this author. Too bad it isn't available as an audible book. As for Kate Burton's narration, I was really impressed with her very slight Brooklyn accent. It was very subtle rather than being in your face and I liked that. The reason for only 4 stars was the music. The music at the beginning of each section was so discordant to the tone of the book that after a couple of times I fast forwarded past the music because it was bugging me so much. It felt like something that should have been in a cheesy 50s or early 60s film noir soundtrack. I don't know who chose it but I thought it was completely weird.
I have read this book a dozen times, and it was a pleasure to enjoy it one more time on Audible. This story is one of the few that have influenced my life, my decisions, and my parenting. From crying to belly laughing I love this book from beginning to end.
I cannot believe I had never heard of this book before I bought it (a few months ago)!! This book should be a standard for maturing girls-it is a sensational and well written account of a girl coming of age in the Bronx. I felt I could relate to this young woman, even though I am from the South and, of course, live in a completely different century! This book, as I later found out, is considered a "classic"-and it should be!The narration is wonderful and I cannot wait to actually re-listen to this book in a few months!
I'm so glad I decided to get this classic. You will not be disappointed. This would be a great book for a book club. I would guess most clubs have already had this on their read list just not mine. Then I have only been a member for a year
The book is great, but the narrator is terrible---a monotone---added absolutely nothing to the story and made me want to read it instead of listen to it!