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About Betty Smith
Betty Smith was born Elisabeth Wehner on December 15, 1896, the same date as, although five years earlier than, her fictional heroine Francie Nolan. The daughter of German immigrants, she grew up poor in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the very world she recreates with such meticulous detail in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Smith also wrote other novels and had a long career as a dramatist, writing one-act and full-length plays for which she received both the Rockefeller Fellowship and the Dramatists Guild Fellowship. She died in 1972.
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A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick
The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the twentieth century.
From the moment she entered the world, Francie Nolan needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior—such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce—no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children of Francie’s neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences—a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.
From Betty Smith, author of the beloved American classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, comes an unsentimental yet radiant and powerfully uplifting tale of young love and marriage.
In 1927, in Brooklyn, New York, Carl Brown and Annie McGairy meet and fall in love. Though only eighteen, Annie travels alone halfway across the country to the Midwestern university where Carl is studying law—and there they marry.
But Carl and Annie’s first year together is much more difficult than they anticipated as they find themselves in a faraway place with little money and few friends. With hardship and poverty weighing heavily upon them, they come to realize that their greatest sources of strength, loyalty, and love, will help them make it through.
A moving and unforgettable story, Joy in the Morning is “a glad affirmation that love can accomplish the impossible.” (Chicago Tribune)
"A rediscovered treasure." — Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post
From Betty Smith, author of the beloved classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, comes a poignant story of love, marriage, poverty, and hope set in 1920s Brooklyn.
Tomorrow Will Be Better tells the story of Margy Shannon, a shy but joyfully optimistic young woman just out of school who lives with her parents and witnesses how a lifetime of hard work, poverty, and pain has worn them down. Her mother's resentment toward being a housewife and her father's inability to express his emotions result in a tense home life where Margy has no voice. Unable to speak up against her overbearing mother, Margy takes refuge in her dreams of a better life.
Her goals are simple—to find a husband, have children, and live in a nice home—one where her children will never know the terror of want or the need to hide from quarreling parents. When she meets Frankie Malone, she thinks her dreams might be fulfilled, but a devastating loss rattles her to her core and challenges her life-long optimism. As she struggles to come to terms with the unexpected path her life has taken, Margy must decide whether to accept things as they are or move firmly in the direction of what she truly wants.
Rich with the flavor of its Brooklyn background, and filled with the joys and heartbreak of family life, Tomorrow Will Be Better is told with a simplicity, tenderness, and warmhearted humor that only Betty Smith could write.
Betty Smith, the beloved author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, weaves a riveting modern myth out of the experiences of her own life in this rediscovered classic.
In Brooklyn's unforgiving urban jungle, Maggie Moore is torn between answering her own needs and catering to the desirous men who dominate her life. Confronted by her quarrelsome Irish immigrant father, the feckless lover who may become her husband, and others, Maggie must learn to navigate a cycle of loss, separation, and hope as she forges her own path toward happiness.
With characteristic warmth, compelling insight, and easy, conversational prose, Maggie-Now poignantly illuminates one woman's struggles and successes as she grapples with timeless questions of desire, duty, self-sacrifice, and the quest for fulfillment. Maggie-Now is an unforgettable masterpiece from one of the twentieth century's greatest talents.
UNA DE LAS MEJORES NOVELAS NORTEAMERICANAS DEL SIGLO XX.
«Un libro bellísimo de una novelista maravillosa y olvidada.»
«Un libro conmovedor y honesto, que llega al corazón de la vida [...]. Un árbol crece en Brooklyn es una lectura que nadie debería perderse.»
The New York Times
Corren los años veinte del siglo pasado y descubrimos a la pequeña Francie Nolan leyendo sentada en la escalera antiincendios de su casa, a la sombra de un árbol que solo crece en los barrios más pobres de las grandes ciudades. Poco a poco, la mirada se aleja de la chiquilla para abarcar a la estrafalaria familia Nolan, que malvive en un barrio de Brooklyn. Conoceremos así a sus padres, a su hermano y a la entrañable tía Sissy, que usa a los hombres para aplacar sus instintos maternales. Francie crece rodeada de los libros que tanto legustan y pronto empieza a preguntar y a pedirle a la vida algo más que un triste acomodo en la mediocridad.
De esas hermosas y tercas ganas de saber nace Un árbol crece en Brooklyn, una novela donde cualquier detalle de la vida doméstica revela un mundo hecho de apuestas y deseos, donde los personajes son tan próximos que nos duelen sus dolores y donde el sueño americano cobra por fin peso y color.
«Uno de los libros del siglo.»
Biblioteca Pública de Nueva York
«Una de las novelas norteamericanas más queridas [...]. Es la novela dickensiana de Nueva York que no sabíamos que teníamos.»
The New York Times
«Un árbol crece en Brooklyn merece ser considerada como una de las mejores novelas norteamericanas.»
The New Yorker
«Betty Smith es una narradora nata.»
«Una historia que irradia vida.»