Thursday, March 5, 2009

On Books and Brooklyn

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.

5 comments:

Katie said...

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my all-time favorite books, right up there with To Kill a Mockingbird. Both amazing books that are supposedly "children's literature," but that are so much deeper than that.

Natalie said...

A) Look me up on goodreads! hammie@mail.com is my email for that.

B) I'll be adding this to my "to-read" shelf. :)

(julie) said...

I am so glad we agree on this book! And I love that you can put that gushing into words. You said everything that I feel, but can't seem to formulate into words. I'm going to be in Philly in 2 weeks!!! I will call you soon to work out details.

Ti2xgurr said...

Hey!! So you totally made me want to read this book! I haven't even heard of it but it sounds great! I hope this message finds you both doing well and just as happy as you appear in the pics on your blog! You are two of my favorite people!

Natasha said...

Keep the books suggestions coming. I definately will need to read this one, you make it sound wonderful.