Book Talk: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Hi people,

hope all of you have been coming along just great recently. I’m back from my vacation, tired as never and hiding away mostly somewhere with a cup of tea and a nice read. The last book I finished only this morning was Betty Smith’s masterly written A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.

Instead giving an old boring review, I want to share my favorite passages, or those who made me smile the most, or those who spoke to me in one way or another. Without much further ado, here are the ones that stayed with me the most:

“All of us are what we have to be and everyone lives the kind of life it’s in him to live” (102)

“A person who pulls himself uo from a low environment via the bootstrap route has two choices: Having risen about his environment, he can forget it; or, he can rise above it and never forget it and keep compassion and understanding in his heart for those he has left behind him in the cruel up-climb.” (147)

“The astonished cop looked up. She blew him a great kiss. For a split second, he thought it was some love-starved old-maid teacher gone crazy. Then his native masculine conceit assurred him that it was one of the younger teachers who had finally screwed up enough courage to make a passionate overture. He resonded to the occasion, blew her a return kiss with a ham-y fist, tipped his hat gallantly and sauntered off down his beat whistling “At the Devil’s Ball.” “Sure I’m a divil amongst the ladies,” he though. “I am that. And me with six kids at home.” (157)

About finding arrowheads: “The searched for half and hour and found none. Johnny recalled that as a boy he hadn’t found any either. […] Papa confessed that maybe it hadn’t been an Indian cemetery at all, maybe somebody had made up that story. Johnny was more than right because he had made up the whole story himself.” (172)

“It was a good thing that she got herself into this other school. It showed her that there were other worlds beside the world she had been born into and that these other world were not unattainable.” (176)

“It takes a ot of doing to die.” (220)

“It doesn’t take long to write things of which you know nothing. When you write of  actual things it takes longer, because you have to live them first.” (326)

“What had Granma Rommely said? “To look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” (476)

“But the tree hadn’t died…It hadn’t died.” (493)

Let me know what you think about the book (if you’ve read it), which of the quotes is the speaking to you the most, or just genereal thoughts you might want to get out there. Can’t wait to hear from you,


Edition used: Smith, Betty. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Harper Perennial, 2005.


About RushOfDeb

Rambling, mostly.
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