When I was a young girl, I read every book in my house. My mother was a reader and loved books. So was I. I still am. During the summers I would go to the library and pick up the "Recommended Reading" pamphlets and make a goal to start at the top of the list and read every book. Needless to say, I'm not super motivated by goals, and my literary mission would soon fall by the wayside and I fell back to re-reading the stacks in my own little collection. Story of my life.
A book that was ALWAYS included in those reading lists was "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn"
by Betty Smith. How could I have missed out on this book, especially since the title starts with "A"? Was I that lazy that I quit so shortly after starting? How is it that I survived my navel gazing, woe is me teen years without reading the WONDERFUL story of Francie Nolan? Born in 1901, the story follows Francie throughout her childhood in turn of the century Brooklyn, living in the poverty that was pervasive for immigrant families. Unflinching and honest, yet respectful and never vulgar, this book tackles subjects I'm sure were uncomfortable to its contemporary audience: sex, alcoholism, poverty and prejudice. The voices are plain and real and compelling. I honestly looked forward to picking it up every evening and was sad when the last page turned. Beautiful, amazing, lovely.