A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty  Smith ON COMPLETION:
My views expressed below remain unchanged, having completed the novel. I will simply add a few points. Although I loved this book as a child, reading it as an adult gave me less. In my opinion this book is written for young adults. For this audience it is absolutely perfect and worthy five stars, but as an adult reading it, I could only give it three. The book does a magnificent job of portraying how parents love each of their children differently. Equally, but differently. It is a classic bildungs roman, covering the topics characteristic of such literature.

A book has been written about the author, Betty Smith. It is entitled Betty Smith: A Life of the Author of a Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I always felt that the author was speaking of her own experiences. Al though a book of fiction,"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", is in fact loosely based on her own life.

A while ago I reread To Kill a Mockingbird. This book, contrary to "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", brought me the same if not more enjoyment on the second reading. It is is not written for one particular age group,

I think the writing is fantastic. Sometimes it is poignant and I feel sad. Sometimes a smile comes to my face. I also very much enjoy the descriptiveness of the writing. The time and place are wonderfully depicted - the stores, the neighborhoods, a school day, daily routines popular songs and food, All of these details are interwoven into Francie's daily life. The picture the author draws of her sitting on a fire escape in among the leaves with her cookies and drink - well you feel as if you were there on a hot summer day with a pillow beneath your rump, engulfed in hot muggy air with occasionally a slight breeze to cool you. In addition, Francie's parents come alive. They are good and they are weak and they feel so darn reeal. You can love a weak person. Truely you can.

Nevertheless, I am having some trouble listening to the audio now. It takes foreve, which kind of annoyses me. Sometimes the narrator mixes up who is speaking and has the wrong inflexion to her voice. I probably wouldn't be so picky if the pace were faster. I believe that listening and reading are two very different experiences. Conversely, I do enjoy listening to the songs that are sung - a huge plus for the audio version.

I have another problem. I feel the book is a lesson on how to be a good person, on how to appreciate life even when times are bad. I agree with the philosophy stated, but I really get a little bit bored being "taught" this all over again. Given that I am an adult, I find it a bit didactic.

As a child I adored this book. However now, reading it as an adult, I doubt I will give it 5 stars.

I am going to reread this soon! Well as soon as I have time.... The 5 stars were awarded for my last reading. What will I think this time?!

I am going to listen to it. ) My first audio book. I have already listened to half of the first section. I am totally enjoying myself. I just sit and listen and smile sometimes. Beautiful writing. And the narrator is SO good!