#41. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

[Pardon my missed post yesterday. I'm an auntie again, to a gorgeous little five-pound nine-ounce niece. :)]

For the Rules of the Fifty Favorite Books, click here.

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"A person who pulls himself up from a low environment via the boot-strap route has two choices. Having risen above his environment, he can forget it; or, he can rise above it and never forget it and keep compassion in his heart for those has left behind him in the cruel up climb."

Author: Betty Smith

Synopsis: The early years and coming-of-age of Francie Nolan, child of poor immigrant parents, are chronicled in this tale.

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I read this book once, years ago, and perhaps the time has come to pull it off the library shelf again. I remember it as stunningly well-written, vivid, a beautifully human description of life in poverty without--as far as I recall--romanticizing such a life or trying the reader's patience by a preachy attitude about social justice. (I'm not saying that social justice is unimportant ... just that nothing makes it harder to care than a self-righteous mouth-off thinly disguised as entertainment and/or "speaking out".)

Having only read the book once, I don't have a lot more to say about it. It left quite an impression that first time, though; certain characters and scenes stand out strongly in my mind even after all these years. I also have to give it an extra star for having one of the greater titles that I've ever come across.


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