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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 (1157 )
5 star
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Story
4.4 (583 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Carmel Cheektowaga, NY, United States 05-03-11
    Carmel Cheektowaga, NY, United States 05-03-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    8
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    "A great book but..."

    I know this book well as it was on my highschool reading list. I could have done without the 13 min long introduction though. I know it may be a special part to some people but it almost made me want to delete the book. (They should really re-think reading this!) This alone brought the rating down for me or it would have definately been 4 - 5 stars.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicholas Coeur D'alene, ID, USA 06-11-07
    Nicholas Coeur D'alene, ID, USA 06-11-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    6
    1
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    0
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    "readers bewere"

    I love this story. I have read it 5+ times.
    I don't think this reader was able to portray the life a feelings that the first reader had done. I first heard this book back in 97 and she was able to show you a image when there was none to be seen. This reader spends 11mins telling her story, and tells it with life in every word, but not when she reads and tells this story

    4 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaylyn Eagle Mountain, UT, United States 03-06-12
    Kaylyn Eagle Mountain, UT, United States 03-06-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring"
    What disappointed you about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?

    I liked reading about how the way life was in Brooklyn during this time period, but the story itself is boring. I probably would have quit listening to it halfway through, but my book club was reading it, so I finished it. The narrator was very good and helped out the story as best she could with her fantastic accents.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John W. Aldis Shepherdstown, WV 11-06-11
    John W. Aldis Shepherdstown, WV 11-06-11 Member Since 2009

    jwaldis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is a "chick flick" book."
    Would you try another book from Betty Smith and/or Kate Burton?

    Don't know.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Betty Smith again?

    I doubt it.


    Did Kate Burton do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yeah, she did a good job.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    It is probably terribly culturally important, etc., etc., but it remains a chick flick book.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce Lupo 12-17-10
    Joyce Lupo 12-17-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    271
    5
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    "Slow and then slow"

    I'm not really sure how this book received such high ratings. It starts of slow going and continues slow throughout. I expected it to pick up speed and any time, but it just didn't.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Walnut Creek, CA, USA 04-21-10
    Mary Walnut Creek, CA, USA 04-21-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "Brooklyn book"

    I did not care for the book. It did not being up memories of my childhood as other's said it would.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Ok, OK, USA 12-20-09
    Steven Ok, OK, USA 12-20-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Fair"

    Not bad, a little slow at times, but worth the listen.

    0 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michol OREM, UT, USA 09-15-07
    Michol OREM, UT, USA 09-15-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    19
    8
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    "Classic"

    Well written, good descriptions, I watched the movie first, it follows the book pretty well.

    0 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Sklar Los Angeles 03-17-10
    Karen Sklar Los Angeles 03-17-10 Member Since 2001
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
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    Overall
    "An Exercise in Suspending Disbelief"

    I read this book at the urging of a friend and was willing to indulge the somewhat maudlin telling of an unlikely story for the chance to hear a version of what life might have been like in Brooklyn in the early 1900's, a chance to learn more about what my grandparents might have experienced themselves. Unfortuneately my bright but cynical son listened to about 15 minutes of it with me and was all too good at pointing out how soppy it was and he ruined it for me. From that point forward I couldn't help finding the book a somewhat preposterous fairytale instead of a realistic portrait of the past. These people were too good; fate was too predictable and well, you get the picture...

    0 of 9 people found this review helpful
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