Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Friday 56 & a Classic


“There’s a good girl!” 12 weeks old!

Hey! Hey! Whaddya say? It’s Friday! Woop! Woop! Time for another Book Beginnings and Friday 56!

This week our Book Beginning and Friday 56 are from the same book. A classic. Do you recognize this beginning?

Book Beginning:

“Serene was a word you could put to Brookyln, New York. Especially in the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better. But it did not apply to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prairie was lovely and Shenandoah had a beautiful sound, but you couldn’t fit those words into Brooklyn. Serene was the only word for it: especially on a Saturday afternoon in summer.”

Friday 56, from Page 56:

“Maybe that decision was her great mistake. She should have waited until some man came along who felt that way about her. Then her children would not have been hungry; she would not have had to scrub floors for their living and her memory of him would have remained a tender shining thing. But she wanted Johnny Nolan and no one else and she set out to get him.”

About the Book

If you haven’t already figured it out, these quotes are from Betty Smith’s classic coming-of-age tale, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. We read it when we were in grade school. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Just grabbed it again at the library for a re-read. 

It’s as beautiful and powerful as it was way back when Brontosauruses moseyed by.

Here’s another favorite passage:

“She went out and took a last long look at the shabby little library. She knew she would never see it again. Eyes changed after they looked at new things. If in the years to be she were to come back, her new eyes might make everything seem different form the way she saw it now. The way it was now was the way she wanted to remember it…

Annie, the fir tree, that the Nolans had cherished with waterings and manurings, had long since sickened and died. But this tree in the yard – this tree that men chopped down… this tree that they built a bonfire around, trying to burn up its stump – this tree lived!

It lived! And nothing could destroy it.

Once more she looked at Florry Wendy reading on the fire escape.

“Good bye, Francie,” she whispered.

She closed the window. 

Full of power and pathos, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the timeless classic about Francie Nolan and growing up poor in the slums of Brooklyn, New York in the early 20th century. A masterpiece.

Which One(s)?

We love this book. Didn’t want it to end. Have you ever felt that way about a book? Which one(s)?

Book Beginnings is a theme where readers share the first sentence (or couple of sentences) from your current read. It’s hosted by Rose City Reader every Friday.

The Friday 56 is hosted by Frida’s Voice. Share a sentence or two-ish from page 56 or 56% in to your current read.

2 thoughts on “Friday 56 & a Classic

  1. It sounds beautiful. I believe I read this years ago, It sounds like it’s ready for a re read.

    • I read it when I was a youngun. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. What a wonderful re-read! Even better than I remembered. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Wendy! Much appreciated!

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