Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and I have a long and torrid history.  It was one of my mom's favorite books.  When I was 12 or 13, my mom recommended a few times that I read it.  I don't know why I wasn't interested (I was either going through a phase where I rejected nearly everything my mother suggested or I had recently discovered Harry Potter), but the reason doesn't really matter, I didn't want to read it.  

My mom must have mentioned something to my aunt, who is, for lack of a better word, a book pusher.  She's the type of aunt who gets it stuck in her head that you need to read one thing or another and until you've read it.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, unfortunately, fell under this category (I also never read the Chronicles of Narnia and almost didn't read Harry Potter for the very same reason).  She's recommended this book to me in just about every card she's sent me in the approximately ten years since this whole fiasco started (which is a lot, my family practically keeps Hallmark in business).  I think she thinks she's being funny, when in reality she has turned me off to more books than she's encouraged me to actually read.

That's why I threatened my family with death when I decided to finally read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  My aunt was and is not to know that I finally decided to pick up and read this book.  I don't even want to know what sort of an outcome that would have.  

Anyways, it was good.  I enjoyed it.  You know how sometimes you hear tons and tons of things about how great a book/movie/tv show/restaurant is and so you read it/watch it/eat there and its almost never as good as you thought?  Well that kind of happened to me with this book.  I enjoyed it, I really did.  But I didn't think it was one of the greatest books I've ever read, which is how it was always described to me by my mom and aunt.

If you haven't read it (or heard about it incessantly for the better part of your formative years) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a coming-of-age story about Francie Nolan, a third generation American.  The book follows her childhood and adolescence in turn of the century Brooklyn (where else?) and shows the trials and tribulations of living in poverty at the time.

I recommend it.  I'm not sure its something I'd rant and rave about for years on end until someone's willpower collapsed and they caved, but I would recommend it to a friend.  I wish I'd read it earlier and had told my aunt and mom to mind their own beeswax.

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