Audiobook Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith #HSReadingRedo


5 disco balls

Published: August 12, 2005 by HarperAudio (book first published 1943)
Narrator: Kate Burton
Length: 14 hours 55 minutes
Category: Classics, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Coming of Age

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was Book 7 out of 8 on my September Reading Challenge High School Reading Redo list. As we approach the new month, I am proud to report I did most of my homework and only need to read the Cliff Notes or watch the movie of one unread book (The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck). 😉

Set in Brooklyn in the early 1900s, we fall in love with the Nolan family; whom are poverty stricken but resourceful. Francie Nolan became one of my favorite literary characters.

Goodreads Synopsis: 4.25 average rating
The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

Francie craves her mother, Kate’s, love. No nonsense Kate favors her son Neeley. John Nolan loves his children and wife as best he can, but he is an unreliable drunk. Even with all their struggles there is a pure love for family.

We get to watch Francie and Neeley grow up and find their way in the world. Neeley having it easier than Francie: being given what he needed at the expense of Francie. But, Francie’s wonder of the world and her love of reading and writing contribute to her tenacious nature; you find that she is the most steadfast of the Nolan tribe. They are certainly a charming duo.

“Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life…And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”

I own the paperback of this book, but listened to the audiobook during my drives to and from work and on a weekend road trip. Narrator, Kate Burton (Dr. Ellis Grey from Grey’s Anatomy!), was brilliant! Her New York accents were on-point. I enjoyed the audiobook version and recommend if you have any road trips coming up.

Have you read/listened to this gem? Do tell!


Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

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Please note: this post contains Amazon and B&N affiliate links. If you purchase this book through the links above I will earn a small fee; at no additional cost to you. This will help me purchase more books to read and recommend to you all!

21 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith #HSReadingRedo

  1. This was never on my HS reading list, but I’ve been hearing about it more and more lately! Normally I skip audiobooks, but I might have to try this one via audiobook delivery. I’m a sucker for good accents!

    Liked by 1 person

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