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#ATreeGrowsInBrooklynBuddyRead
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Daisey
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Pickpick

My library loan expires this weekend and there are others waiting, so I finished listening ahead of schedule. I can completely see why so many readers connect to the experiences of this story. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, and I loved how well I felt that I got to know the characters.

Thanks @CoffeeNBooks for finally motivating me to read this book and I look forward to the rest of the discussion!

#ATreeGrowsInBrooklynBuddyRead #audiobook

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Daisey
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I really enjoyed this short scene about the autograph books and the rhymes fellow students wrote to Francie. They‘re creative and amusing. Just a few weeks ago, my dad was showing me these same kind of autograph books from my grandparents‘ school days in the 1930s.

#ATreeGrowsInBrooklynBuddyRead

Scochrane26 I thought these were cute, too. I had an autograph book as a kid (I guess because we didn‘t have yearbooks that young), but kids didn‘t put rhymes in it. (edited) 2d
Daisey @Scochrane26 My grandma had one with signatures from several years. It was fascinating to see. A lot of the younger kids had just signatures or short lines somehow including “remember me.” The really entertaining rhymes were mostly high school students. 1d
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Daisey
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I first learned about these incubators for premature babies when reading The Electric Woman and found it interesting to see them mentioned here. Again Sissy is pretty creative in her methods.

#ATreeGrowsInBrooklynBuddyRead

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BarbaraJean
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Jumping in on the #WeeklyForecast!
📚Finish Peter Nimble (book club)
📚Continue #ATreeGrowsInBrooklynBuddyRead
📚Keep up with daily meditations in Word by Word (got behind last week!)
📚Start Thirst during my husband‘s contemplative piano service on Tuesday
📚Read at least a chapter or two of Wearing God (has been on the back burner)
📚Figure out which essays I actually want to finish in View from the Cheap Seats (I‘m bogged down in the middle)

Cinfhen Glad you‘re joining!! I love seeing what everyone is reading/ im nosey that way 😉 5d
BarbaraJean @Cinfhen Ha! If you like seeing what others are reading, Litsy may be for you... 😁 I‘ve enjoyed seeing people‘s forecasts and recaps so much! Hoping it‘ll keep me on track...or just aware when I‘m not reading what I planned!) 5d
monalyisha Interesting! I hope I see your review of “Wearing God.” 😊 5d
BarbaraJean @monalyisha I‘ll have to tag you when I post a review! 4d
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CoffeeNBooks
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Lifeisasnap Can you use all your senses in this section? That i think is what makes Betty Smith‘s writing style so miraculous. It‘s a true gift to write like she did. I‘ve read a ton of books & there are a few handfuls over the last two years that i can say reach to what she did. Maybe our TV consumption has dulled our minds to not write as descriptively as so many of the classics are written. I‘m not sure, i just know my favs are all older. I‘m generalizing. 5d
Lifeisasnap Thanks for hosting!! 5d
Hooked_on_books Sissy confronting the teacher was just outstanding. I‘ve liked Sissy all the way through, but I really loved her after that scene. 5d
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janeycanuck @Hooked_on_books yeah, that was a great scene part of the book. So was the chapter about Evy and the horse! Smith is injecting such wonderful humour into this book, it would be such a heartbreak otherwise. 5d
CoffeeNBooks @Hooked_on_books @janeycanuck Yes! Those scenes were great! 5d
dariazeoli I agree with what everyone else has said. I also really loved how much the scene with the baby being hit with the rock impacted Francie. You could feel her shame in the way it was written. 5d
OriginalCyn620 I agree with you all. And yes, @janeycanuck the humor sprinkled in here and there is a welcome respite from all the sadness. 5d
catiewithac I love how tender Johnnie is in this part of the book. How he supports Francie‘s desire to change schools and cleans her arm after the vaccine. Despite his flaws, he has such a magnificent heart! 5d
CoffeeNBooks @catiewithac I agree! I think we saw a side of him that we hadn't seen before. 5d
Readswithcoffee I loved the description of the stores in the neighborhood. 5d
BarbaraJean @catiewithac Yes—I love that Johnny is a more complex character than just the drunk father who can‘t get/keep a job. The chapter where he takes the kids fishing was so heartbreaking to me. He does try so hard in some ways! And I feel like he provides the emotional support that Francie doesn‘t get from Katie. 5d
BarbaraJean @dariazeoli Yes—there‘s so much going on in that scene! Francie is struggling with her shame at not standing up for Joanna, but also with the ideas of “good” & “bad” she‘s being taught vs. her own natural sense of right & wrong. We also see that with Sissy—I love how the narrative questions the labels of good & bad, showing the contrast between “bad” women like Sissy & Joanna vs. “good” women who throw actual ROCKS at a young mother & her baby! 5d
Chab256 @catiewithac Yes, Johnny really does love his daughter despite his various character flaws. His redeeming characteristics make me that much sadder for him in many ways though... 5d
mrp27 Loving every bit of this book. The Christmas chapter really stood out, I felt like I was there and could feel the cold and smell the tree. Also loved Sissy confronting the teacher and Francie's desire to change schools. That really hit me and I hope her desire for schooling brings real change for her. 5d
Scochrane26 I‘m a little late in responding. I read most of this section today, but then had to go a few places. I really liked this section, better than the first. The humor, the scenes when Johnny is helping Francie, & her thoughts about how women treat each other were my favorite. Excited to read the next section. 5d
catiewithac @mrp27 I loved Aunt Sissy‘s improvisation, too!! Francie had no choice but to become a writer with all these characters in her life! 5d
catiewithac I only underlined one thing in this section: Johnny‘s comment to Francie about the painted lady. “‘There are very few bad people. There are just a lot of people that are unlucky.‘” We‘re all just doing our best here. 5d
erzascarletbookgasm I agree with @BarbaraJean about Johnny. The fishing trip was a memorable scene for me- heartbreaking but also funny in parts. 5d
rubyslippersreads @catiewithac I think Johnny and Katie are both just doing the best they can, in different ways. 5d
Readswithcoffee I really like the way you have structured this buddy read with the questions being posted once a week instead of at the end of the month. Reading in smaller chunks lets me concentrate more on the descriptive language, the development of the characters, etc. 4d
dariazeoli @catiewithac That‘s a great line! 4d
Daisey @janeycanuck I really enjoyed the section about Eve and the horse as well. These sections of humor really are great and help balance the tougher sections. 4d
Daisey @catiewithac @BarbaraJean I agree that one of the great things about Johnnie is the complexity of his character. To me this seems a complexity that would resonate with a lot of readers. 4d
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CoffeeNBooks
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Hooked_on_books I wanted to smack her. She doesn‘t support her daughter at all. It‘s deplorable. 5d
janeycanuck @Hooked_on_books yeah, I didn‘t love it either. There‘s that whole chunk where Katie was mulling over how her kids needed an education but that it would put them above her, etc. So I think she‘s conflicted - she wants better for her kids but also is struggling with the idea that they may lose respect for her. So I think she‘s trying to protect herself? But you‘re right - she‘s Francie‘s mother and should be supportive!! 5d
dariazeoli Katie is so frustrating. She spends so much energy protecting herself when allowing herself to support Francie in a demonstrative way would be so good for both of them! 5d
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OriginalCyn620 As a mom, I think she‘s horrible. If it had been Neeley, she would‘ve dropped everything and thrown a parade. Okay, maybe not. It‘s like she can‘t be bothered to show even the slightest bit of attention or love to her daughter. It was the same with the Christmas presents! 5d
BarbaraJean I was frustrated by her response, but I also wonder if she didn‘t understand how much it meant to Francie. I think Katie and Francie are two entirely different personalities—Katie is practical and always thinking of how they will get by (thus her not having time to read the story b/c she has to go back to work) and Francie is an observer and a dreamer. Katie even thinks at one point how they don‘t understand each other. ⤵️ 5d
BarbaraJean I think Katie is a different type of mother than Francie really needs—Katie tries her best to provide a better future for her kids in the way she knows how. But she does that in practical rather than emotional ways. Francie needs that encouragement and support, but I think those are things Katie doesn‘t really understand how to provide. 5d
Readswithcoffee Definitely no ‘Mother of the Year‘ award for Katie! Shame on her. 5d
catiewithac @janeycanuck I agree with you. When Katie has her moment of enlightenment as the Christmas tree comes upstairs, she realizes that she needs her kids to be better than herself but will also resent it. She anticipates Francie feeling ashamed of her parents. But this fear is self-fulfilling. If Katie had been capable of vulnerably and tenderness she might have a better relationship with Francie. 5d
mrp27 I'm not a parent so it's really difficult for me to understand Katie and her response. I don't get at all how she can admit loving and caring about Neely more. I get that a parent can feel differently about their children but to love one less is mind boggling. Can't she just fake it for Francie's behalf or is she just raising her up to face the harsh realities of life? 5d
rubyslippersreads I think part of it is that Katie wants to suppress any of Johnny‘s characteristics that show up in Francie, even the good ones, like dreaming and creativity. In Katie‘s eyes, those are useless and dangerous things. 5d
Scochrane26 I was irritated with Katie, too, in these scenes. But, I do think it‘s easy, especially for mothers, to get caught up in everything you have to get done & forget to stop & spend time w/ your kids. I see that today w/ mothers a lot. For Katie, she‘s trying to make sure her family has basic needs. See Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs 5d
catiewithac @Scochrane26 Are you a nurse? Nursing school beats Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs into our heads!! As much as I love Johnny, I feel for Katie, too. She married an alcoholic and has to provide everything for her family. This burden obviously hardened her in ways she could not have imagined as a young woman. 5d
Scochrane26 @catiewithac Lol, I‘m a social worker/therapist. I often work w/ low-I come fams & have found that if they‘re basic needs aren‘t met, they can‘t focus on therapy, positive attention, etc. 5d
erzascarletbookgasm I feel so sad for Francie. 5d
TheBookHippie @mrp27 my mother raised her children like this hated me loved my brother and it is mind boggling. I read this book the first time and was like AHA! 18h
TheBookHippie @Scochrane26 I see this in my title one school kiddos too. 18h
TheBookHippie @janeycanuck I‘ve had parents throw away books I‘ve given their kids because they are only allowed to read at their level not higher ... 18h
TheBookHippie @Hooked_on_books it‘s mind boggling to me. 18h
TheBookHippie Sorry I‘ve been retreading and I love it all over again! Catching up now with these!!!! 18h
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CoffeeNBooks
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Hooked_on_books I think and hope so. One would think winning a contest would spur her on to continue writing, encouraging her interest. Plus, seeing your piece in print—wow! 5d
Chab256 Absolutely, especially since we know ATGIB is a a semi-autobiographical novel of Betty Smith's life. 😉 5d
Lifeisasnap Absolutely! I picture Francie as Betty when she was writing this story. If she didn‘t my writing would‘ve never happened. She, Francie inspired me. 5d
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CoffeeNBooks When Betty Smith was 11, she was able to get two of her poems published in a Brooklyn newspaper. Unfortunately, her father died when she was 12, and she had to quit school to help support her family. She continued writing, and eventually won a $1500 prize for a play called Francie Nolan. She used the money to buy a typewriter, continued to dream of becoming a novelist, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was finally published in 1943 when she was 47. 5d
Hooked_on_books What a great story. I‘m really glad you shared this! 5d
janeycanuck @CoffeeNBooks that‘s a wonderful story. I didn‘t know any of that! 5d
janeycanuck There‘s a lot of foreshadowing about her father‘s death. But her mother keeps saying she wants her children to have an education. So I assume that Francie will have to leave school to help support the family when her father dies but that writing will be her primary pastime when she‘s not working. 5d
dariazeoli I do! 5d
OriginalCyn620 Oh, I hope so! Writing seems to be an outlet for her and I hope she sticks with it. 5d
OriginalCyn620 @CoffeeNBooks I didn‘t know that, but how awesome! Thanks for sharing! 😊 5d
Readswithcoffee I think she will continue because she is so proud to have won the contest. Thanks for the info on Betty Smith, @CoffeeNBooks. 5d
catiewithac I started writing diary entries when I was 12. I‘m reading Emily of New Moon right now, and her diary entries are similar. That‘s such an interesting time of life (and burgeoning self-awareness). Such a raw, terrifying time! 5d
mrp27 I would hope and think so but life can get in the way so here's to hoping Francie continues. 5d
rubyslippersreads I agree with everyone who says she will, since the book is semi-autobiographical. And after this, some of you might be interested in 5d
Scochrane26 I hope that Francie gets an opportunity to continue writing & finish school. So many kids in poverty don‘t get the opportunities. I didn‘t know anything about Betty Smith, thanks @CoffeeNBooks 5d
erzascarletbookgasm @CoffeeNBooks Great story and how admirable of Smith. 5d
Daisey I agree that she will continue. Thank you for the biographical info @CoffeeNBooks and @rubyslippersreads! 4d
TheBookHippie @rubyslippersreads I agree I liked that book very much! 18h
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CoffeeNBooks
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Hooked_on_books I don‘t think it‘s so unusual for the day and age. Plus, she can‘t afford to be off work to go with them, which is still true for many parents now. And I think her kids were accustomed to being on their own a bit more, so while it was tough for them, it‘s nothing like what it would be for a kid now. 5d
Kdgordon88 While I could never have imagined doing that I think in that time and place it was normal. Had it been unusual I‘m sure it would have been commented on by the clinic staff. 5d
Lifeisasnap It definitely wasn‘t unusual to do stuff without your parents back then. My dad would go to Juliard as a 7 yr old from Brooklyn to Manhattan from a mile of walking to the subway station then onward to midtown. My grandma never feared for him. Kids then were able to play a tad and were older mentally and more independent than are a ton of kids today. My parents let me as a 12 year old with my 7 & 8 yr old sisters on the bus to downtown for shopping (edited) 5d
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CoffeeNBooks I feel like Katie wanted them to get used to the harsh realities of life, and to be able to deal with the things they might encounter, but knowing her thoughts: "Katie knew she was letting them down. But she couldn't help it... she knew she couldn't stand the ordeal" makes it seem even worse when the nurse and doctor speak so rudely to/about Francie. Katie should have been there for them. 5d
Lifeisasnap I guess it depends on where you grew up and how your parents grew up whether it seems odd or not. It‘s the old, so you raise a child or raise them to be adults for the harsh realities of living?? Just my 2 cents. 5d
Chab256 It seemed horrible to me, especially because it had less to do with her missing work and more to do with her not wanting to see them go through it. But, I did not grow up in that time or place so.... 5d
janeycanuck Given how many errands they run on their own, I don‘t think it‘s bad or unusual for them to do things without a parent. But I think Katie knew that this wasn‘t the same as an errand - and couldn‘t face taking the children herself. Not just because needles hurt but because she thought she was letting them down in even having them vaccinated. 5d
dariazeoli On the one hand, Katie couldn‘t stand the ordeal of watching her kids get their shots. On the other, she knows they live a hard, hungry life with, at times, pain. Maybe this specific example is too much to bear witness to, but it still feels cowardly. 5d
OriginalCyn620 I understand that she had to work and that Johnny is undependable, therefore they needed the money. And really, she sends them all over the neighborhood to do the shopping by themselves so it wasn‘t really surprising. I still felt bad for Francie and Neeley, though! 5d
greenreads I felt bad for Kati, because she's struggling too. But the way she handled it, explaining to Francie why they had to be vaccinated, was just clever for me. 5d
Readswithcoffee Being of the generation where we received vaccinations AT SCHOOL (no parents), it‘s not a big deal in and of itself. However, the fact that she couldn‘t bring herself to be there was rather cowardly. 5d
catiewithac I wasn‘t a fan of forcing Francie to be right-handed. 5d
NeedsMoreBooks @CoffeeNBooks agree. She should have been there with her kids. Vaccinations are scary, even for adults 😭 5d
mrp27 Agree that Katie dealt with her feelings about it in a cowardly way but also understand that it was just the way things were done at the time. I know it's not meant to be funny but it made me chuckle a bit while comparing parenting then and now. 5d
rubyslippersreads I think Katie excused her own reluctance to go with them by telling herself they might as well get used to the world being a harsh place. 5d
erzascarletbookgasm Francie and Neeley have been so independent, running many errands on their own, so I‘m not shocked but agree with what @rubyslippersreads said. 5d
TheBookHippie We got them at school and it was scary but everyone was in the same boat ..as an adult I cried right along with my babies and grand baby too. I think it just was. 18h
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CoffeeNBooks I think this is such a great description of a relatively ordinary thing. I think Betty Smith does a great job of describing things so you can really imagine them, and I think she also captures Francie's perspective and way of seeing things. 5d
Hooked_on_books I think her descriptions are great. I‘d like a bit more plot, though. 5d
Lifeisasnap I love B. Smith‘s writing style! My mom read me this book as a tiny little girl at bedtime. She would let my imagination soar & if i couldn‘t see it then she would describe it even more. We were living in NY. My dad grew up in Brooklyn so it was easy for her to bring Francie & Nelly‘s world to me. After i was older we walked the streets of the poorer neighborhoods just to feel what Francie was feeling. This is a book i read every year. 🎥 is 🤩2! 5d
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Kdgordon88 I love her descriptions especially this one. It paints a perfectly clear picture. 5d
Chab256 @Lifeisasnap That is so cool! 5d
janeycanuck @Lifeisasnap aww, that‘s lovely! 5d
janeycanuck Yes, Smith‘s writing is amazing. It really adds to making Brooklyn, itself, feel like a character of the story. 5d
dariazeoli I like Smith‘s writing style. She paints a picture for the reader that‘s really immersive. 5d
OriginalCyn620 Her writing is very descriptive, almost lyrical. 5d
Readswithcoffee I really like her writing. It brings the situation to life for me. 5d
CoffeeNBooks @Lifeisasnap I'll have to watch the movie when I'm done reading the book! 5d
CoffeeNBooks @OriginalCyn620 I like that description- lyrical is a good way to describe her writing! 5d
catiewithac As rich as her descriptions are, I think Smith‘s writing is strongest in her character descriptions. The people are what keeps drawing me back in. #auntsissyforever 5d
NeedsMoreBooks @OriginalCyn620 agree that her writing is very lyrical @CoffeeNBooks her descriptions are beautiful without being too wordy 5d
mrp27 Agree with everyone here, her descriptions are beautiful and her characters are really fleshed out, faults and all. 5d
Lifeisasnap @CoffeeNBooks it‘s a really old movie so not sure if you will have to rent it off Amazon maybe check Netflix... i hope you find it. Enjoy. 5d
rubyslippersreads @CoffeeNBooks @lifeisasnap I love the movie. I think it may be available on YouTube. 5d
catiewithac Smith‘s writing style has a strong flavor of nostalgia and sadness. I haven‘t read Proust, but now I want to read Swann‘s Way. 5d
Lifeisasnap @rubyslippersreads that‘s a good place for it too be. Thanks. 5d
erzascarletbookgasm @Lifeisasnap that‘s so cool! 5d
erzascarletbookgasm Her writing gives a great sense of place. I like her writing. 5d
Daisey Agreed! I love the descriptive writing about both the places and the characters. 4d
TheBookHippie I love it. It paints a very clear picture so we can out ourselves in the story. 18h
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CoffeeNBooks
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Discussion of chapters 15-32 this afternoon. I enjoyed last week's discussion, and I appreciate all of you who are reading this with me right now!
#ATreeGrowsInBrooklynBuddyRead

TheBookHippie Thanks for this what a wonderful reread I am having! 18h
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