Through the Trees

A singing waiter, a girl who loves to read (and who fights for her education), and a bad girl who only wants to be a mama were three of my favorite storylines in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.


Taking place in the beginning decades of the 20th century, Smith brilliantly captures the plight of over-comers. In this case, the Nolan women. From the deepest desire of motherhood in Katie’s sister to the deepest desire to rise above, in Francie, this book allowed me a birds-eye view through the trees. I felt like I was given an inside track on the themes that run through many women’s hearts, even now in 2016.

The main character, Francie Nolan encountered something that felt relatable to me. Mostly, the idea of being a girl in a boys world. That Neely was loved more because he was a boy made me mad. And that Katie had to work extra hard to overcome her husband’s weaknesses didn’t help either. This book was, I believe, an ode to feminism.

But above all it’s all about the books. The love of All The Books. Of Francie, Smith writes,

“The world was hers for the reading.”

Indeed it was.

So, of course, this was one of my favorites characters in a story. And this book, one of my favorites.

Catch up with all of the other books in my Best Books Ever series for the Write 31 Days Challenge. Click the button below to see what others were on my list.


Role Reversal of Sorts

So, Sweetboy just asked:  “Mama, are you going to be in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens while you’re gone?”

And I replied:  “What?!?  How do you know the difference?”

Sweetboy: “Well, I forget how I know, but Manhattan is the biggest.  And could you take a picture of the Statue of Liberty for me? And don’t forget you have to take a ferry boat to the Statue of Liberty.”

Me:  “Uh, okay.

Sweetboy: “So, which one will you be in?”

Me: (Completely razzled now) “I have no idea! Can I get back to you on that one?”

Sweetboy: “Sure, but there are cool little markets in New York Harbor.  And there’s a little open green space where the Statue of Liberty is.”

Me: “Um… well, I don’t think I’ll have the extra time to make the ferry boat ride out to the Statue of Liberty, but if I get anywhere close to it, I’ll snap a picture for you.” (Hoping to High Heaven that will pacify him…)

Sweetboy:  “Okay… But, Mama?  Don’t go into any alleys between any condos or apartments to go anywhere, okay?”

Me: (My head is starting to hurt) “Okay, honey.  I won’t.”

Sweetboy:  “There could be stray cats in there. And all that jazz.”

Me: “You bet.  I wouldn’t want to meet any stray cats in any alleys in New York City!”

Sweetboy: “Which part of New York City will you be in again, Mama?”

At this point in the conversation, I politely excused myself to retrieve Mommy’s Sippy Cup and fill it with Fermented Apple Juice.

Me: “I’ll let you know when I’m done drinking my juice.”

Sweetboy: “That’s wine, silly Mama!”

Yes. Oh, yes indeedy, it sure is.  And thankfully, there’s more where that came from…