A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a novel from the point of view of a young girl named Francie Nolan. The story consists of Francie, her Mother, Father and younger brother as they struggle to survive in the slums of Brooklyn, NY. Their grandparents were first generation immigrants from Austria, and settling in the U.S has not been easy for them. They rely on each other and extended family in their daily struggle to put food on the table. The plot is based in the 1900's, and Smith is able to make statements about poverty, education, family, moral development and the role of women. We are able to watch Francie and her brother mature and grow faster than a normal kid because of the harsh reality they live in.
I thought the book was easily relatable and although there is not much suspense or action, Smith is able to keep you interested with the hardship of every day life. However, if you are someone who needs action to keep you interested, this book is not for you. In addition, if you are someone that simply wants an easy read, I would not recommend this book either, it does require some thinking and presents some difficult themes. The book is long, around 500 pages, but the language is easy to understand and read.
I did think the book was a bit slow at times, and I found myself skimming unnecessary dialogs or rants, but Smith picks it right back up with another conflict. Despite that I loved the way the story was written from a child's perspective and we see her grow and mature throughout the story. The themes were easily relatable and can be recognized in our own lives which I though was really cool. Overall, I loved this book and hope you enjoy it as well!