One of my underrated favorite classic novels, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith made me feel so seen as a reader and writer and dreamer of a young girl. It’s a coming-of-age story with lots of quotable moments and sink-or-swim life lessons, and it’s a source of inspiration and comfort for me.
I’m still figuring out how to manipulate graphics and make them look nice, so forgive me if these aren’t as pretty as they could be. They’re not my best work ever, but I’m sharing them anyway, as part of my ongoing war with perfectionism and self-doubt
as well as my slight fixation on sticking to the posting schedule I planned out so carefully yet can’t seem to stop rearranging because it feels kind of productive. Hopefully these “postcards” will bring you a little spark of happiness!
From the moment she entered the world, Francie Nolan needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior — such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce — no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life — from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children of Francie’s neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences — a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.
What are some of your favorite book quotes? Are there any particularly quotable novels that you’d like to see me do next?