November 18, 2017

“Dear God," she prayed, "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life."

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
By Betty Smith

Things I loved about this novel: the empathy, humanity, and kindness in which it treated poverty, alcoholism, and struggle for survival. Its extraordinary detail of daily life in early 1900s Brooklyn—where I live now. The celebration and admiration of its brave and bold female characters, who were all the more daring for their times. Its staunch support of education. Its forgiving portrayals of the characters—all of whom were flawed in some way, the way all humans are, including the best ones. It portrayed loneliness, and learning to be alone, as fortifying. Not as detrimental or indicative of weirdness. It emphasized the importance of love in life. In all forms. Especially in family.
Many times I saw myself in Francie.
Didn't mark any passages and wish I did. So I turn to Goodreads.

“Dear God," she prayed, "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere—be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”
- Francie Nolan

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”
- Granma Mary Rommely

“Forgiveness is a gift of high value. Yet its cost is nothing.”

“As she read, at peace with the world and happy as only a little girl could be with a fine book and a little bowl of candy, and all alone in the house, the leaf shadows shifted and the afternoon passed.”

“It was the last time she’d see the river from that window. The last time of anything has the poignancy of death itself. This that I see now, she thought, to see no more this way. Oh, the last time how clearly you see everything; as though a magnifying light had been turned on it. And you grieve because you hadn’t held it tighter when you had it every day.”

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