Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

YOU ALL. Listen. You know how sometimes you are maybe somewhere and you get asked, "If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be"? Well, I never have an answer to that question. Never! BUT, now I do. Hands down, without a doubt, I want to spend some time with Mary Frances Nolan, the protagonist of this most excellent novel. Francie is the most precious heroine in the world and I think will forever be one of my most favorites.

I don't have the patience for plot summaries and all that, but it is a coming of age story and takes place in (surprise, surprise) Brooklyn, in the early 1900s. Here's the Goodreads Book Blurb: 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.

And, there ya go. Here are some of my favorite quotes...although, really, pretty much everything that comes out of Francie's mouth is charming.

Responding to her brother's claim of getting drunk she says:
"I've been drunk too...last spring, I saw a tulip for the first time in my life...Well, when I looked at it, the way it was growing, and how the leaves were, and how purely red the petals were, with yellow inside, the world turned upside down and everything went around like the colors in a kaleidoscope-like you said. I was so dizzy I had to sit on a park bench...I don't need to drink to get drunk. I can get drunk on things like the tulip".
 PRECIOUS, right??

And another:
"No! I don't want to need anybody. I want someone to need me...I want someone to need me." 
Yes, don't we all?

One more, quoting her granma:
"To look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory."

Ohhhh, I just love this book and I love Francie Nolan.

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