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Download A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00000642830511 out of 54.00000642830511 out of 54.00000642830511 out of 54.00000642830511 out of 54.00000642830511 out of 5 4.00 (155,562 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Betty Smith Narrator: Kate Burton Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is a 1940s coming-of-age novel that is widely regarded as a classic in American literature. The novel has long been popular with audiences who could readily identify with the primary character, Francie Nolan, who grew up in impoverished Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York during the early 20th century.

Francie's dream was to escape from the poverty in which she grew up. Her grandmother, an immigrant who spoke little English, stressed the importance of reading and writing in working her way out of poverty and achieving success.

Naïve and idealistic, Francie began with a goal: to read every book in the library that was in walking distance from the sum district tenement where she lived. The novel follows her struggles and triumphs. Those who love the book readily identify with her.

An understanding of the immigrant experience and the appeal of the American dream have made this a best-selling book for generations, both then and now. Contemporary audiences continue to draw inspiration from this young working-class girl who sets her foot firmly on a path and refuses to give in to poverty, hardship and temptation to simply give up.

Betty Smith was an American novelist and playwright. Born in 1896, she became a popular novelist of the mid-20th century. Her work remains very relevant and popular today. The events in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" are largely autobiographical. Born Elizabeth Wehner, she was the daughter of immigrants from Austria. She loved school but had to leave before entering high school because of the death of her father. She dedicated her life to reading and was eventually able to go to the University of Michigan after marrying, moving to Michigan where her husband attended law school and starting a family. She later divorced, moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina and remarried. She died in 1972 from complications of pneumonia.

During her lifetime, Smith wrote at least 70 one-act plays. Her other novels include "Tomorrow Will Be Better," "Maggie Now" and "Joy in the Morning."

A moving coming-of-age story set in the 1900’s, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the lives of eleven-year-old Francie Nolan, her younger brother Neely, and their parents, Irish immigrants who have settled in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Johnny Nolan is as loving and fanciful as they come, but he is also often drunk and out of work, unable to find his place in the land of opportunity. His wife Katie scrubs floors to put food on the table and clothes on her childrens’ backs, instilling in them the values of being practical and planning ahead.

When Johnny dies, leaving Katie pregnant, Francie—smart, pensive, and hoping for something better—cannot believe that life can carry on as before. But with her own determination, and that of her mother behind her, Francie is able to move toward the future of her dreams, completing her education and heading oft to college, always carrying the beloved Brooklyn of her childhood in her heart.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A profoundly moving novel, and an honest and true one. It cuts right to the heart of life…If you miss A Tree Grows in Brooklyn you will deny yourself a rich experience.”

    New York Times

  • “One of the most dearly beloved and one of the finest books of our day.”

    Orville Prescott

  • “One of the books of the Century.”

    New York Public Library

  • “There’s a reason this tale remains beloved after almost fifty years, and it stands with memoirs like Angela’s Ashes for its happy-ending triumph over a bad childhood.”

    AudioFile

  • An Audie Award Finalist
  • A BuzzFeed Books Pick for Life Changing Books to Read with Your Mom

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sue Cebelinski | 2/17/2014

    " I have my mother's copy of this book and have read it at various points in my life, learning something new at each reading. My all time favorite book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Cindy Mast | 2/6/2014

    " One of my my favorites. It is about simpler, harder times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jinnie | 2/4/2014

    " 5 stars is not enough. This is a 10 star book: lyrical, poignant, plain, funny, moving. Brilliantly written, beautiful story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Deepesh Banerji | 1/27/2014

    " Really enjoyed it. A story about many themes, but of underlying perseverance. Very interesting coming of age story, of the changing times, in Brooklyn NY, in the beginning of the century. "

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