Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Originally uploaded by barbfecteau.
I read the first two chapters this afternoon and I feel such a sense of relief! I was worried that I was going to hate this. I don't know why, I thought it would be earnest and uplifting - which is fine, just not my cup of tea.

But in reality it is funny and kind of heartbreaking. I burst into tears during the part where she and her mother agree about the luxury of pouring coffee down the sink.

And I loved when the boys were talking trash about the horse. "I seen him run over a little baby yesterday." Indeed!

I hated the snotty child-hating librarian, though, of course.

Some of the talk about Jews made me a little uncomfortable. I really have to remember the historical context of this. 1912 was a whole other world. And I like that the mother had more enlightened ideas - or at least seems to at this point. It is kind of funny because a lot of the descriptive parts of this book remind me of the "All of a Kind Family" books which is a series of books about a Jewish family living in a tenement on the lower east side of Manhattan around the same time as this story takes place.

There is a tenement museum in New York City. It is the Lower East Side and not Brooklyn, but I imagine there are similarities:
you can see it here.

Also, the tree that Francie talks about as a harbinger of a neighborhood turning into slums is called ailanthus.

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