Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Book Review: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

  • Classics-Bookclub
  • Whew, I made it through another book for Classics Bookclub at 5 Minutes for Books!  This one was tough for me, don't really know why, but I had a hard time getting "into" this book and actually read most of it in a last minute reading marathon.  Do you think having the book "assigned" has anything to do with that?  Maybe I'm harboring some ill feelings about school and being forced to read certain books?  But I'm not forced to read these books, I voluntarily joined the club!  Still....
  • Here are some questions from the 5 Minutes for Books site.
  • What meaning, if any, do you see in the novel's title? Well, we definitely see Francie grow and change much like a tree, going through various seasons of her life.
  • Compare and contrast Francie and Katie. Why do you think Francie feels closer to Johnny? Like many a mother and daughter, Francie and Katie are alike in temperament and belief, both proud and strong, though neither wants to see the likeness.  Francie feels closer to Johnny because her mother favors Neely.
  • The Nolans are poor, yet Francie reflects on her childhood with fondness. Why? How does growing up in Brooklyn shape who she becomes? She feels she had more fun because she had to make things fun.  She becomes an independent, resourceful person because of her experiences growing up.

    Why does Francie's teacher dismiss her essays? How is this a turning point for Francie? Her teacher felt her subject matter was inappropriate.  She began to write sadder, more troubled stories after her father's death and the teacher felt she should write only happy stories.  She began writing stories that were based on her sad feelings, but turned around to be happy and discovered she wasn't being true to herself and her writing no longer satisfied her.

    Now for my own thoughts and observations.  This book started out slow for me, but after Johnny's death and the focus of the book was mainly the women it became more interesting.  Not that I didn't like the character of Johnny or any of the other men, the book just seemed to make more sense and flow better when the men were just secondary figures.  It almost seems that getting together with Johnny was all a mistake, and that life for Katie and the children didn't improve until he was out of it.  But would Francie have grown into the same woman without Johnny in her life?   Would Lee have been Francie's Johnny?  But if she doesn't love Ben it would be a mistake to marry him.  So many questions left at the end of this book!  I definitely wound up liking this book and may even re-read it sometime to see if I can pick up on some things I may have missed this time.


    1. Great review. I have to admit though I loved the book right from the beginning but it may just have been a welcome relief from Jane Eyre that made it so enjoyable for me. Not a big fan of Jane.

    2. Once I got past waiting for something stage, I really got into the book and liked it very much. Glad you stuck with it as well.

    3. I'd love to reread it some time, too. My review is here.

    4. I'm glad that you stuck with it and liked it in the end. I read this book when I was young, so it was interesting reading it again as an adult. It's still one of my favorites.


    Thanks for stopping by!