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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

4.5 (1602 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Bruce United States 11-29-13
    Bruce United States 11-29-13
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    "liked book"

    liked book and narrator very much. listened to while exercising and kept my interest. made me think about things i forgotten while growing up

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica Smith 10-07-13 Member Since 2015
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    "A Must Read Coming-of-Age Story"

    I fell in love with this book almost instantly and have listened to it several times. One of the great classics that should be read continually. The commentary about the turn of the century, poverty, school, and growing up is lovely.

    It is easy to come to love each of the characters as the story gives you a glimpse into each of their perspectives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seana BAKERSFIELD, CA, United States 05-02-13
    Seana BAKERSFIELD, CA, United States 05-02-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Absolutely wonderful"
    Would you listen to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn again? Why?

    I have listened to this at least 4 times. It's one of those you can just keep listening to.


    What other book might you compare A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to and why?

    Angela's Ashes, the American girl version.


    What about Kate Burton’s performance did you like?

    She gave the characters feeling


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

    No, but it was a book I didn't want to end.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer BAKERSFIELD, CA, United States 04-30-13
    Amazon Customer BAKERSFIELD, CA, United States 04-30-13 Member Since 2012

    K. Hoover

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    "A classic that never gets old!"

    This was one of the favorite books I read as a pre-teen. It was such a fond memory I was excited when I found it on Audible. I enjoyed it just as much reading it as an adult. The story is compelling, well written and the characters are fond memories in my heart. The struggles that this family, and especially the daughter come through make it an inspiring story for a pre-teen or teen and adults alike. When I first read this book it was my favorite on the same level as "Diary of Anne Frank."

    I would recommend this book to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenda Canada 01-02-13
    brenda Canada 01-02-13
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    "Great story"

    I had seen the movie years ago and really liked it and the book was a real treat. The lifestyle of Brooklyn in that era is portrayed really wee, you can picture it easily.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Comox, BC, Canada 12-11-12
    Leslie Comox, BC, Canada 12-11-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Fantastic book"

    It took me years to get around to reading this book. It is fantastic!! very enjoyable listen. I wish I had gotten to it sooner. Should be required reading for young adults.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abby 08-23-12
    Abby 08-23-12

    New to audible but love the convenience of listening to books while doing mundane household tasks. Mother of 3 whose nest is 2/3 empty as the grown children move on to bigger and better things.

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    "Poverty is no match for love and family."
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to be better than the print version?

    I had not read the print version but it had been on my "list" for years. The audio version did not disappoint so I'll assume it was at least as good as the print version.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?

    There is a scene where Katie rescues her daughter Francie from an attacker by running for a pistol hidden in their home. That was quite a memorable scene.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene where the young children "catch" a large tree thrown at them to bring home as their Christmas tree was definitely one of my favorites.


    Who was the most memorable character of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and why?

    Katie is the most memorable character for me because she is such a strong woman who manages to bring up her children in such extreme poverty with such love and happiness despite their unfortunate lot in life.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator of this audiobook did a great job with all the characters. I also like how the book shows that money does not buy happiness and that the love of family can sustain you through the worst of circumstances. I also like how Francie, despite the less than fortunate upbringing, just loves Brooklyn, her childhood home.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lara Fairfax, Va, United States 07-31-12
    Lara Fairfax, Va, United States 07-31-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Good book, mediocre narrator"
    If you could sum up A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in three words, what would they be?

    About a girl


    What other book might you compare A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to and why?

    I can't think of any.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Didn't like the narrator. Very robotic and ended her sentences in questions.


    If you could rename A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, what would you call it?

    Before the war: a tale of a Brooklyn girl pre-WWI


    Any additional comments?

    Na

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 07-19-12
    Scott 07-19-12
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    "Classic story, well-performed."

    Well-performed version of an American classic. A good look at life in the city in the early 1900's.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna 07-01-12
    Donna 07-01-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A True Classic"
    What made the experience of listening to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn the most enjoyable?

    Its relevance to life then and now. It's timeless.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Of course, the protagonist, Francie Nolan! Why? Because without her, the story could not exist.


    Which character – as performed by Kate Burton – was your favorite?

    I love all of her characters, she is very good at every accent of the different immigrants of that time.


    If you could rename A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, what would you call it?

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


    Any additional comments?

    I am sorry I have not read this story sooner. I love the story and the narrator brings the story to life. I'm currently on my second listen. I'll probably listen to it over and over. I love it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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