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.
"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)
I won't waste time talking about the worth of this classic story. In my 50+ years on this earth I somehow never read it, dismissing it as "young adult fiction", and I am sorry and shamed now, because it is not that at all. It is one of the finest books I've ever listened to.
HOWEVER, because it was new to me, I was very sorry to hear the introduction (not skippable, because it is not separated from the first chapter) which GAVE AWAY all the key parts of the story at the end of its schmoozy praise of the novel. Really, really disappointed to have a spoiler like that for such a great book - it should have been featured AFTER the story. The narrator is quite good and I love her way with accents, but she should learn that "suite" is pronounced "sweet" and not "suit". Also disturbing is the weird incidental jazz music, not at all indicative of 1911 when the story begins, which breaks startlingly, alarmingly between chapters. It's out of character for the story and jarring to the ear.
Many of our own lives can relate with the author as she tells a story of a life so similar to the lives we live in today's world ~ It had romance, excitement, childhood fantasies, family tolerance, sibling protection and teasing, fears of change, tears of joy and sadness. I wish it never ended.
This was one of my favorite books I've ever purchased from Audible. The narration doesn't get better than this in audiobooks, and the story is nothing short of classic and a truly wonderful coming of age story. Excellent book I highly recommend it for anyone at any age.
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
Centered around the protagonist Mary Frances Nolan who is 11 years old at the onset of the novel, ATGIB tell the story of a poor family, struggling in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. Mother Katie is a proud, hard-working, practical, woman who tries to make ends meet by working as a cleaning woman, while her husband Johnny escapes reality through alcohol. It depicts the hard road traveled by their two children Francie and Neeley, her younger brother, as they go to school and work while learning about life and how to survive its cruelty. It also depicts the strong love of family. How in difficult circumstances they stick together and even though their situation whittles away at their endurance, they still manage to stick together as their love, devotion and loyalty to one another triumph. Katie’s sisters Evy and Sissy are strong women who also struggle through life’s challenges, but never back away as they persevere and face adversity head on. ATGIB is story telling on a whole new level. Moving and inspirational, it reaches in to your heart and pulls you into its time, place and circumstance. A true classic.
Kate Burton did a fine job with the narration.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Francie Nolan is coming of age at the turn of the century in the slums of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. It's a story of perseverance, heartbreak, cruelty, and optimism. Am just reading this as an adult and can't believe it wasn't required in my high school. Fantastically written account of a family struggling to beat the odds for a better life. If you've ever read, "Angela's Ashes" then this is a tamer U.S. version beautifully capturing the struggle for the American dream.
This book is a wonderful classic about life in New York in the early 20th century. The reader's accents were perfect. Her rendition of the book is superb.
This is a must read for anyone who considers themselves well read. The book is beyond fabulous and although it takes place in the early 1900's there's nothing about the story that is dated. It is about love and loving, growth, famlies, immigration, learning and passion.
You will find yourself in every character as well as your mother, father, aunts and uncles. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn should be required reading.
The only caution is the prologue. It's a self indulgent, self congratulatory piece of goo that adds nothing to the story and may put you off of what is a spectacular piece of literature.
What a classic, that does not feel a bit old! This is an annual listen for me. Francie is timeless as is the story of all our lives. Excellent narration
I have loved this book from the time I was 13, which is a 47 years ago. I have read it several times and loved the audio version just as much. What a classic.
As fresh today as when it was written. Not a plot-driven story, but a rich, rewarding listen about life in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn, as well as a warm and endearing coming-of-age story of young Francie. Could not be more delightful. Couldn't stop listening! Try it, you'll like it.
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