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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn | [Betty Smith]

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A moving coming-of-age story set in the 1900s, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the lives of 11-year-old Francie Nolan, her younger brother Neely, and their parents, Irish immigrants who have settled in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Johnny Nolan is as loving and fanciful as they come, but he is also often drunk and out of work, unable to find his place in the land of opportunity.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why You Should Download This Audiobook: Betty Smith's immensely moving novel is essentially a paean to the human spirit—among most uplifting works we can think of. It's one of those stories you delight in giving to a good friend or family member who might be facing difficulty, certain that it could change the way they perceive life or give them strength to overcome a problem. It's also worth mentioning that this novel is a refreshing, plainspoken American work, a welcome change of pace if you've been lately persuing dense or complex works of literature.

Publisher's Summary

A moving coming-of-age story set in the 1900s, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the lives of 11-year-old Francie Nolan, her younger brother Neely, and their parents, Irish immigrants who have settled in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Johnny Nolan is as loving and fanciful as they come, but he is also often drunk and out of work, unable to find his place in the land of opportunity. His wife Katie scrubs floors to put food on the table and clothes on her children's backs, instilling in them the values of being practical and planning ahead.

When Johnny dies, leaving Katie pregnant, Francie, smart, pensive and hoping for something better, cannot believe that life can carry on as before. But with her own determination, and that of her mother behind her, Francie is able to move toward the future of her dreams, completing her education and heading off to college, always carrying the beloved Brooklyn of her childhood in her heart.

©1947 Betty Smith; (P)2001 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"There's a reason this tale remains beloved after almost 50 years, and it stands with memoirs like Angela's Ashes for its happy-ending triumph over a bad childhood." (AudioFile)
"A profoundly moving novel, and an honest and a true one. It cuts right to the heart of life." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1465 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lisa Oakland, CA, United States 05-09-12
    Lisa Oakland, CA, United States 05-09-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lisa"
    Where does A Tree Grows in Brooklyn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book rates in the top 10.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Francie Nolan is my favorite character, although I loved her aunt cici and her mother as well. All the characters were so richly written and so intertwined that it's hard not to love them all.


    Have you listened to any of Kate Burton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not sure, but I thought she did a wonderful job with 'A Tree Grows In Brooklyn'.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I couldn't stop listening to it. It's such a wonderful story.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an American classic worth listening to. So happy I downloaded it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheyenne United States 08-31-11
    Cheyenne United States 08-31-11 Member Since 2013

    I love books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great for All Ages"

    I first read this when I was twelve, and I thought it was wonderful. I recently re-read it, and I can easily remember the beauty I saw in it when I was a young girl. It is stories like this that are timeless and touch the hearts of all people. In this book, I saw God.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Redbrenda New York, NY, US 04-16-11
    Redbrenda New York, NY, US 04-16-11 Member Since 2013
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    "History the easy way..."

    Living in Brooklyn 90 years after this book was written, gave me great insight into the difficulties faced by those who have gone before. The struggles and lifestyle of this family are so understandable. The tenacity displayed and the warm depth of characters in this book make it a great way to understand why the neighbourhood is the way it is now - the villages that have all joined, the community feel of living in Brooklyn (as apposed to living in Manhattan) now makes much more sense. A wonderfully easy way to learn from history - highly recommended!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Huntington Beach, CA, United States 03-14-11
    Laurie Huntington Beach, CA, United States 03-14-11 Member Since 2010

    Love to listen and walk or run and knit, knit knit

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What an Experience!"

    Truly loved this book!.
    The narrator was spot on and I could picture the little girl growing up before my eyes. I can see why this book was required reading for high school students.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie 01-25-11
    Julie 01-25-11

    Troii Warchild

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    "Memories"

    I wish I had read this book years ago, I was a child in the 40's and poor, I can't believe the memories this book dug up for me. I think everyone in the world would appreciate and relate in some way to this book it is brilliant. I remember the survival mode we had to go into just for food. The part about the spot on her arm from dirt this happened to me, I cried at that part. If you have half a heart for the people that are not as well off as you are read this book and feel what it was or is like to be there. The Pride you have to dig up on a daily basis is phenomenal. Well written and put forth. Thank you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Whitmore Front Royal, va United States 01-06-11
    Catherine Whitmore Front Royal, va United States 01-06-11 Member Since 2013
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    "All around great book"

    Gave this to my daughter to read right after. Loved the characters, writing and narration. It's a great coming of age story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda LOVELOCK, NV, United States 01-03-11
    Linda LOVELOCK, NV, United States 01-03-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Amazing"

    This is truly one on the best books I have ever read. I cannot believe I hadn't found it sooner. Thank you Betty Smith. I wish there was a series of Francie Nolan books. I fell in love with her and her family!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Titusville, FL, United States 12-15-10
    Kathy Titusville, FL, United States 12-15-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Loved It Very Much"

    At first the accent of Francie put me off. As I listened and listened I learned to love her all over again. I read this book many times as a young girl and certain things that stood out in my memory when reading did not do so as a listener. I really enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Prince Winthrop, WA USA 12-14-10
    Diana Prince Winthrop, WA USA 12-14-10 Member Since 2015

    Diana

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    "Great Listen!"

    I truly enjoy catching up on the classics I missed through Audible. I never read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and knew nothing about the story. I enjoyed every minute of this book from start to finish. It is an engaging, slice-of-life story that is well-written and well-narrated. I highly recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Franklin, CT, United States 12-01-10
    Jill Franklin, CT, United States 12-01-10 Member Since 2010
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    "I still love this book!"

    What a treat it was to visit this book again, after so many years. I remember reading this as a young person, and I recall such memorable characters as Sissy and Johnny with fondness. I love how the book is written in plain English, which is why it has stood the test of time, and even young readers can appreciate it. Kate Burton did a nice job narrating, and putting in a bit of New York accent into the voices. The introduction was a bit long, but it just showed why it is remarkable that we have passed the 60th anniversary of the book's writing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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