My favorite read for the month of November was a re-reading of one of my favorite classics, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
The book is set in the early 20th century in the slums of Brooklyn. It's a coming of age story about a little girl named Francie Nolan who lives in extreme poverty with her hardworking but uneducated mother, her loving but alcoholic father, and her little brother Neeley. Her parents are the children of immigrants who have to struggle to survive, and life is hard for the family. In fact, it reminded me of Angela's Ashes and Francie's character is a bit like Frank McCourt's American counterpart. Francie is a sensitive girl trying to make sense of the harsh world she was born into and during the course of the book she slowly grows up to be a young woman with a bright future despite the hardships of her childhood.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn captures something of the American spirit in the early years of the 20th century when immigrants and first generation citizens were struggling to make a life for themselves here. There is sadness and struggle and plenty of harsh realities, but also love and beauty and resilience. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an American classic and well worth a read if you like stories about the human condition and the triumph of the human spirit.