RSS

Tag Archives: childhood

Classics Challenge – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Author: Betty Smith
Classics Challenge Sub-topic: Coming of Age

Book Description:
The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

Review:
I probably never would have put this book on my challenge to read list if it hadn’t shown up as a group read in one of my various goodreads groups. But now that I have read it, I can’t believe that I hadn’t before. And come to think of it, I don’t recall even really hearing about it – although apparently it is still used on school reading lists. (My library has all the reading list books separated from the standard YA, so they are easy to find).

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is such a simple tale – the story of Francie growing up in Williamsburg, a part of New York (although every time I see that town name, I think of Williamsburg, VA). She goes through the same trials that most kids do – going to school, dealing with boys, first love, but on top of all that, an alcoholic father and being exceptionally poor. I loved seeing her mother (who some reviews describe as being cruel, although I don’t agree) teaching Francie and her brother about the value of money and saving towards a goal (with the tin cup that they nailed in the cupboard at each house they moved to). Or the love of learning that she inspired in them, through Shakespeare and the bible.

Even now, over 60 years since it was originally written, I can see how kids can relate to the going-ons. Not necessarily the time period specific, but the general themes of growing up and finding your place in the world. Being the sucker that I am for happy endings, I wonder what would happen if a sequel was ever written – What did Francie end up doing with her life – Did she finish going to college? Did she get over her first love and subsequent first heartbreak? But at the same time, I don’t want to know because I can imagine various different endings all I want and a sequel would change that.

This is a book that I would recommend to pretty much anyone, but I do think that teenage girls would enjoy it the most because of the themes and the characters.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Classics Challenge

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Audiobook Review – Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Series: #1 in the Anne of Green Gables series

Narrator: Susan O’Malley
Run Time: 10 hours, 41 minutes
Producer: Blackstone Audio

Book Description
As soon as Anne Shirley arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever… but would the Cuthberts send her back to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not what they expected — a skinny girl with decidedly red hair and a temper to match. If only she could convince them to let her stay, she’d try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes or blurt out the very first thing she had to say. Anne was not like anybody else, everyone at Green Gables agreed; she was special — a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreamed of the day when she could call herself Anne of Green Gables.

Review
I think most girls growing up probably read the story of the red-haired orphan adopted by Matthew and Matilda Cuthbert, set in Canada. For me, it had been nearly two decades since i had read it, but I still had fond memories, so after listening to my previous audiobook that had me bawling, I decided that I wanted a feel-good book to listen to. (Unfortunately, I forgot how moving and cry worthy AoGG was). But this is definitely a book that to me has stood the test of time – I laughed and I cried along with Anne as she struggled to find her place in life and society.

I do have to admit that I was surprised by how much my memories of the book were jaded by the movie version that I had seen. While I have planned on writing a book to movie post, a few thoughts. Anne and her dress with the puffed sleeves – this was probably one of the parts of the book I thought that I remembered the most, but I was surprised to find that what i thought occurred in the book, was primarily in the movie. The same with how the book ended and the death of a main character (I mean, I could spoil it by saying who it was, but there are still people out there who haven’t read this classic, so I won’t).

It has been a while now since I listened to the audiobook, so I really don’t have much to say about the narrator – it wasn’t bad enough to stick out in my mind, but at the same time wasn’t one the best narrators I have listened to in the past. It was only good – I wish I had more to say about it, but I don’t. The production of the audiobook was a bit funky in that you could hear where it had been re-mastered and the quality of the book changed through-out – there were parts where it was super quiet, and others where it got really loud – I’m personally not a fan of having to adjust the volume on my ipod in the car like I was having to with this verison.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

Tags: , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 390 other followers