A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is realistic fiction following a young girl named Francie Nolan and her brother, mother and father and their daily struggle in the slums of Brooklyn, NY. Her grandparents were first hand immigrants from Austria, and we see as the Nolans and their extended family struggle to find their feet in America. The story is told through a child's perspective, and we get to watch her grow and mature as the plot develops. Betty Smith uses makes statements about themes such as love, family, education, poverty, and women. The story is easily relatable because of the child's perspective and the book definitely presents controversial topics as well. For example, we can see Francie and her mother and the complications they have as Francie matures, as well as the role of women in an industrializing society.
Although the book is almost 500 pages long, the language is relatively easy and Smith is able to keep you interested. However, if you are someone who needs a lot of fighting and action to keep you interested, I would not recommend this book to you. This book is more of a story about every day conflicts. In addition, this book does present controversial topics and often requires thinking, so if you are someone who likes an easy read this book may not be for you. I gave the book 4 stars because at times I thought some of the narration was unnecessary, but it is easy to move through and Smith picks the plot back up again. Overall, I loved this book and would recommend it highly to anyone that is looking for a new read.