The Riverton Area Book Club will discuss the classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, at its August 18 meeting.
Smith wrote this semi-autobiography in 1943 about "Francie" Nolan and her family who live in Brooklyn. The novel,
mixing heartache and laughter, is divided into five "books," each which covers different periods in the lives of the Nolans.
The "tree of heaven" serves as a metaphor for the adolescent protagonist as her desire to better herself mirrors the
tree's persistence to live and flourish in the slums of New York. In addition to the primary theme of tenacity,
the story addresses other issues such as coming of age, poverty, man vs environment, the American dream, and what it means to be human.
The book, which was a huge success, made PBS's Great American Read Top 100 Picks; a movie was released in 1945.
Smith wrote other novels, as well as plays for which she received the Rockefeller Fellowship and the Dramatists
Guild Fellowship. She was born to German immigrants in 1896 and died in 1972.
The book club meets at the Riverton Village Library from 10 - 11 am the third Saturday of every month
(except December). Everyone is invited to join this informal group. If you need a copy of Smith's
book please contact your local library. For further information call the Riverton Library at 217-629-6353.