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 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

by Betty Smith

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn tells the story of Francie Nolan, an odd, bookish little girl determined to become a writer ... growing up in tenement squalor in the early part of the last century. But it's also about so much more than that. It's about thriving despite injustice that's never rectified, meanness that's never punished, and love that goes sour. It's about Francie's parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles. It's about wanting better for your children even as your every action ensures they won't get it. And it's about place ... Unlike the reassuring books of early childhood, this one confirmed what, as a nearly teenaged girl, I'd come to suspect: Life's not fair, but you can survive it anyway." -- Peggy Orenstein, on "All Things Considered"