Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (audio)

The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

 Published 1943 by Harper & Brothers
audio -  16 hrs and 17 mins

“From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.”  

It's no secret that I love audio books.   There have been many a time when I've started an audio only to realize that I would enjoy the book better reading it myself.  There has also been times when the reader just destroyed the experience. The reader can make or break a really good book.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was an audio book for me, purchased from audible. Carrington MacDuffie is the reader and she did an absolutely fantastic job. It had the right pace, the right speed with the perfect amount of emotion.

The reader could only performer like that with an outstanding book.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was that kind of book.  I finished that book mourning the lose of a family that I grew to love.

 I love Francie! She took delight with so much in life and given her surroundings it was really interesting to read, and at times it was rather poetic.  She had dreams, she planned and worked hard to achieve them, even when life was so difficult. Given the time period there was much disappointment and heartache,

But the book just isn't about her but the whole family, it's about relationships, commitment and dedication to each other and self.  This is a wonderful coming of age book that I encourage everyone to read, definitely could see myself rereading this one.

There were so many wonderful quotes in this book, I had to limit myself.

“Dear God," she prayed, "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.” 

“People always think that happiness is a faraway thing," thought Francie, "something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains - a cup of strong hot coffee when you're blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you're alone - just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.”

1 comment:

  1. I remember seeing this old movie on TV when I was very young. I don't remember the story, but I do remember the movie intrigued me. I should pick up the book.