book club: ‘a tree grows in brooklyn’.

As a reader, I tend to shy away from ‘the classics’ in my selections. They’ve been mined for meaning, it seems to me, and there are so many stories waiting for my shovel. But here, now, in the days of quarantining far away from my family, I took A Tree Grows in Brooklyn down from the shelf. My Mom’s favorite book. I turned the page and began.

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn takes place in the early 1900’s, before World Wars and the complications of technology. Its characters inhabit Williamsburg, Brooklyn, though the story lives and pours from the mind of Francie Nolan. She is young, bright, and her eyes are just opening to the truths of the world. Surrounding her are her family members, a younger brother Neely, her hardworking mother Katie, and her warm-but-wayward father Johnny. At the novel’s start, this is her world, and books are her only connection to anything outside of it. Read the rest of this entry »