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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

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Tree Grows in Brooklyn portrays consequences of poor choices

Selfishness does nothing but hurt the people you love the most. Betty Smith’s first book, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, chronicles the lives of a first generation American family in Brooklyn, New York. The family is ripped apart by poor choices and a bad hand in life as they live at the turn of the century.

Johnny Nolan is a charming musician who can’t hold a job and is known around town for spending all of his family’s money on liquor. His wife Katy comes from a long line of women who “were made out of thin invisible steel.” She single-handedly keeps food on the table and a roof over their heads.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is about priorities and decisions. The main character is a young girl, Francie Nolan, who grows up in the midst of family turmoil. She watches her father drink himself to death, her mother scrub floors on hands and knees while in her third trimester of pregnancy and her world slowly go to pieces.

This book is a must read for high school students, especially young women. There is a source of strength and inspiration in these pages; reading it changed my life.

The women of the Francie’s family survive unimaginable situations in which they are not only mothers to their children but also to their husbands, who are men of little integrity and weak character.

Francie spends her childhood working to escape the mold of her family and the bonds of poverty.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn sheds light on what it takes to triumph as an adult, a necessary lesson for all young adults. The novel can be purchased in bookstores across the country. For more information on the novel and a critical review, go online at

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