In response to Julie's question on a previous post and as Goodreads clearly does not leave ample gushing room, here's my take on A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. In a word, phenomenal. Fabulous. Spectacularly achingly beautiful. This was one of those books that I see myself reading over and over through the years, and giving to my daughters and cherishing and smiling every time I see its spine on my bookshelf.
I try to be restrained in giving out 5 stars on Goodreads; this often leads to comments in the reviews that go something along the lines of, "Well, if there were half points, this would really be a 3.5. Or maybe a 3.72, but that might be pushing it, because I know that those 2/100ths of a point will definitely tip your decision in favor of reading the book instead of going to eat French fries. Or at least make you do both at the same time." It's a good book, is all I'm saying.
But this one, this one, is a must-read. Not just if you're a girl or have been to Brooklyn or even if you've ever imagined your life better. This is just so lovely that I can't imagine that anyone who reads it wouldn't be touched in some way. So many books (including, sadly, the one I'm currently reading) cross the line between poignancy and triteness; they go a little too far. [Clearly I am an authority on this, and my ability to blather on and on until my effusion floods your view is a testament to this fact.] ATGiB, though, says just enough. The writing, like a main character, is pragmatic, matter-of-fact, with spurts of abiding emotion. The outbursts are all the more moving for their infrequency, but after it all, they move on, as we do. Every word is carefully crafted to be meaningful but not too much so that it is taken out of context. The themes are oh so very real and moving.
The story is engaging, despite the fact that there's no real "climax," no frenzy to find out what happens, no denoument. For all that, I could not put this book down. And now I'm just being a lush, but, dare I say, this book is a new favorite.