I recently finished Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The story of a poor girl growing up in Brooklyn between 1912 and 1920, the book captures a child’s view on poverty, drunkeness, education, and life. Her honesty and simplicity capture themes that run deep through society. She ponders growing old, parenthood, knowledge, shame, death, and religion in a poignant, realistic way.
The book is filled with beautiful images and memorable conversations. It also carries a historical thread, as the author stayed close to actual events and occurances. Some suspect it was highly autobiographical.
It was a very enjoyable read, and I couldn’t help but feel like I spent a few days roaming the dirty and crowded streets of early 20th century urban America, seeing the world through the eyes of a child.