Book Review

Sunrise photo by Louellen S. Coker with quote from novel.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is a classic novel that is subtly powerful.
Photo by Louellen S. Coker

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but I’m glad I did. Written in 1943, the book became an Academy Award winning movie in 1945 and was adapted into a Broadway musical in 1951.

An often overlooked American literature classic, Smith takes the reader on a journey that handles many difficult topics (poverty, alcoholism, man vs. his environment, education, coming of age, family, exploitation, love, and the American Dream). We follow Frances, Francie, Nolan through 5 different stages of her early life (spanning 17 years from 1900 until 1917) that take her from abject poverty at birth to relative wealth as a young adult.