Category Archives: Betty Smith

I Finished a Book!!

I did, really. Took me a few hours last night in total isolation from my family, but it was worth it!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Even the title is beautiful and mysterious. Wonder what I’d call a book written around here? Oh, I’ve got it – Mosquitoes Bite in Houston. Haha.

Anyhoo, this book is absolutely fantastic. A coming-of-age story set in 1900’s New York. Beautifully written. I found myself reading so fast to try and find out what would happen to this family next, and then going back to re-read because the descriptions and thoughts are so profound. Take this one:

All of us are what we have to be and everyone lives the kind of life it’s in him to live.

Pretty much sums up last weekend for me and the realizations that came with it. In fact, I used it in a blog entry earlier this week.

Or this one:

But it was just as well. There had to be the dark and muddy waters so that the sun could have something to background its flashing glory.

That hit yesterday on the head for me. Hello?? The entire homework situation and my reaction to it? I guess that’s true for everyone in any situation. See what I mean though? This book is just chock-full of wise nuggets like these.

At first I figured that this was an autobiographical memoir. I mean, the author gives such detailed description of 1900’s Brooklyn and life in its tenements that I assumed she had lived it. So, of course, I had to Google Betty Smith, the author. Found some rather interesting stuff about her. Apparently when the book was published in 1943, she claimed it as semi-autobiographical and based on her own New York upbringing. This was even published in her memoir. But now, with technology and the access to public records we have, intellectuals have done some research on her.

Turns out that she based most of her ‘upbringing’ on the lives of the fictional family in the book!!

Wow, how’s that for deception? And pretty shrewd marketing for a female author back in the ’40s. I’m impressed. Obviously it worked, because this book is truly worth the best-seller status it has achieved. Give it a go. You won’t be disappointed.

Hey, if I can finish it in less than a week, it must be good. Good enough to make me sacrifice necessary chores and precious free time!

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Filed under A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith, Books, Reading