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Editorial 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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

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All time favorite

Love this book. I have read it a dozen times. A story of courage and honor. The love you have for your family no matter what. Because "everyone is something".

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My new benchmark for 5 stars ...

This book was so incredibly moving, so real, so poignant, so well-written and well performed, that I'm now embarrassed at being so free with the high ratings I've given previously. It is my new benchmark for 5-star ratings.

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is a true classic and should be required reading for everyone who cares about quality writing, about learning through historical fiction, who cherishes being swept up in the lives of real people in another time. Hard-scrabble in a John Steinbeck way, the characters in this story become so real, so human, that you feel actually close to them and care deeply about their lives and what happens to them. I laughed and wept along with them throughout their story.

For me personally, it brings to life the realities of living as immigrant families in another part of the country in another era. I'm old enough (63) to have seen a tremendous revolutionary change in the way Americans live their every day lives today, compared to the America I grew up in. I had it so easy compared to Francie Nolan's family, yet the people of this culture and time accepted it as their "normal" just like I've accepted mine.

I pronounce easily that this is one of the best books I've read - in the top 10 at least. I can't recommend it strongly enough.

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Absolute LOVE

Only my second audible.. and I'm not a reader, but ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. ♡♡♡♡

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Intermittent music interrupted an otherwise flawless story

This is an eloquent and sometimes heartbreaking story. Well worth a read. The interruption of music which seemed to have no relationship to the story is short, but still annoyed me. Narration is good tho.

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Excellent

The story was great but the narrator was really a revelation. I've been on audible for about a year and this performance was my favorite so far.

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Wonderfull Classic Story

Would you listen to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn again? Why?

It's a must read , for any age . It truly depicts the hardships of living in New York in the early 1900's. The smoothness of the story the interesting characters was outstanding . I could not put the book down .Highly recommend this classic. Kate Burtons performance is second to none .

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  • KK
  • 04-03-16

great book club selection

one of the best books I have read. I would have never read this on my own. it was a book club pick. several of the members of my book club had read in high school. but I had not. I am so glad I read this book and will recommend it to other.

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Great!

Would you listen to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn again? Why?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a must for anyone who loves history! So much to learn about life from this book. I did listen to it on the fastest setting. I suggested it for book club so I had to finish.

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Strong girl in a tough world

I loved this book! It is well read and the characters make you fall in love with them. It takes us back to the days before social security, and the assistance you received on any level, was from family. After reading this, every time I sit down to a meal, or go to work, I am grateful for all I have.

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Beautiful!

I see why this is a classic. I just loved it as a daughter and as a mother