A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - book review | book nook
A couple of years ago, on a total whim - I decided I needed to read a few of what I'd consider "American classic" type books. The fact that I barely made it through To Kill a Mockingbird in high school should have been a bright neon sign to me, that this might not be the best idea. But, once I have an idea in mind, watch out world! I have to do it!!
So for Christmas that year, I had a list of 6 or so "classic" type novels on my wishlist - and each one came wrapped up in pretty paper to me.
Since then I've slowly and robotically made my way through TWO of them. Two! Ugh. The first was Little Women - which you can go read my thoughts on that one over here. This time I chose A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Once again, just like with Little Women, I desperately wanted to love this book, anddddd once again, I did not.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is really, to me at least, a book simply about LIFE. Nothing more, nothing less. In the beginning pages, little Francie Nolan is just a young girl with a perspective of the world around her that is 20x bigger than she. The story throughout essentially follows her life as the grows up into a young woman. Like real life itself, there are ups and there are downs. I kind of feel like if the book overall had followed the path of a faster storyline, it might have maybe kept my interest a little better. Sooo much was drawn out in chapter after chapter after chapter - to the point where you can only think about how you have no idea what the point of this is and ultimately begin to feel like you don't know what you're even reading.
Francie's character was a little bit relatable to me, in some ways at least, which was nice. She's clearly a dreamer in every sense of the word. She loves to read. She loves to observe. She's quiet. She's different, and sees the world differently than most around her - which lands her the position of an easy target for cruel people.
Do I recommend? Oh goodness. I think I have to say no, though there were moments of pure literary poetry.
The best part of the entire book, in my opinion, was when Francie decided she needed to freeze a moment in time by cutting a lock of her own hair, and placing in an envelope for her to open in fifty years. From there she prayed, a prayer that was full of so much hope for her life, for all the possibilities, all the experiences and moments. She prayed, - "Dear God, let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost."
Now THAT is a way to live :)