Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

When I think of this book, I'm immediately transported to my childhood home, lying on the love seat (it was so purple!) in the living room. The room itself is in total disarray while my parents are painting. I can't figure out why I wasn't helping. Maybe I was sick that Saturday or maybe my parents thought my reading a book was a great way to keep me occupied so they could paint. But if that was the case, where was my sister - five years my junior?

Thinking of the book also makes me think of my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Russell. I just adored her. She was strict and strong and scary most of the time. Then, there was the kind and thoughtful side of her, too. When she laughed, it was with her whole body and heart. It was Mrs. Russell who recommended I order A Tree Grows in Brooklyn book during one of our Scholastic book sales (along with Roget's Thesaurus - a favorite reference book that I still own!).

What's the story about? Well, I remember the basics - Francie is a young girl growing up in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. There's her dad, who drinks a lot, her mom, who seems distant to Francie, and her brother. It's a poignant tale of a girl coming of age. I've read it several times over the years, just not recently. It's that whole transport thing that happens to me when I've read the book - I'm there with Francie walking the streets of Brooklyn - that has made this a favorite for me. Not only that, but it also gives me the warm fuzzy memories of a simple time in sixth grade.

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