Historic Buildings in New York City

Row of historic buildings in New York City.

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith is a classic American novel that I really enjoyed over winter break. The story follows Francie Nolan and her family in Brooklyn, New York, in the early 1900s.

Francie lives in an impoverished neighborhood and her family has trouble making a living. Francie’s life revolves around her family, which includes her father, Johnny Nolan, her mother Katie Nolan, and her younger brother, Neeley Nolan.

Although Franice loves her father with all her heart, he is an alcoholic and cannot always provide for the family, which forces Katie Nolan to have to keep the family afloat on her own. "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" portrays Francie’s teenage years growing up in a difficult time.

Personal Review:

I loved this book. Francie is a multi-faceted, curious main character who is learning how to grow up in a difficult situation.

This book does not have a huge plot or storyline. It is simply the story of a young girl growing up in the early 1900s in Brooklyn. This book deals with classism and mental health issues. Francie’s father, Johnny, loves his family and would do anything for them.

Unfortunately, he suffers from depression, which causes his alcoholism. Katie’s character is very strong and brave. She also does everything she can for her family. Francie and Neeley have a great relationship.

Francie’s life is fascinating, and I love seeing how she thinks and feels about the world. I would highly recommend this book.


KYLIE HAGMANN is a blogger for The Vidette Blogger. She can be contacted at kahagma@ilstu.edu Follow her on Twitter at @kyliehagmann

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