Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Sc-Tr)

Smith, Betty

brooklyn francie life

(US 1896–1972)

Betty Smith's famous novel about a Brooklyn childhood, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943), is closely drawn from her own life. Young Francie is brought up by her singing-waiter father (rather too fond of the bottle) and her energetic, determined mother, who works as a caretaker and reads Shakespeare and the Bible to her children at night. It evokes life in the teeming poverty-stricken Brooklyn tenements in photographic detail, and traces Francie's growing understanding of the world, and her struggle for education. The book was a best-seller when first published, and has been frequently reprinted; it is warm and engaging, thanks to Francie's innocent optimism, and it vividly recreates the racial mixture that was early twentieth-century Brooklyn.

Willa Cather (My Ántonia), J. D. Salinger  JR

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