From the moment she entered the world, Francie Nolan needed to be made of stern stuff, for growing up in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn, New York 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 raw with honestly and tenderly threaded with family connectedness. Betty Smith has created a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as deeply resonant moments of universal experience.
"Francie Nolan, avid reader, penny-candy connoisseur, and adroit observer of human nature, has much to ponder in colorful, turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. She grows up with a sweet, tragic father, a severely realistic mother, and an aunt who gives her love too freely — to men, and to a brother who will always be the favored child.... Like the Tree of Heaven that grows out of cement or through cellar gratings, resourceful Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive. Betty Smith's poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Her frank writing about life's squalor was alarming to some of the more genteel society, but the book's humor and pathos ensured its place in the realm of classics — and in the hearts of readers, young and old." — Emilie Coulter, Amazon.com Reviews
|12 and up
|Jan 18, 2005
|Harper Perennial Modern Classics