25 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Quotes From the Classic American Novel

Fans of classic novels depicting pushing through your struggles will enjoy these A Tree Grows in Brooklyn quotes.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was written by author Betty Smith in 1943 as a semi-autobiographical novel.

The book was a huge success and even had a 75th-anniversary edition printed.

The novel covers five different periods in the characters’ lives by splitting each period into a “book.”

The story takes place in early twentieth-century Brooklyn.

The main character is Francie Nolan, who we first meet as a smart and driven eleven-year-old girl.

Francie lives in a low-income apartment with her ten-year-old brother “Neely,” her dad Johnny and her mom Katie.

Johnny is an alcoholic and struggles to provide for the family, so Katie takes that responsibility.

Although Johnny is an alcoholic, he is kind and loving, and the children love him, but he passes away when Francie and Neely are 14 and 13 years old, respectively.

Take a look at the following A Tree Grows in Brooklyn quotes to learn more about this classic book.

You will also enjoy our article on A Court of Silver Flames quotes.

Best A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Quotes

Enjoy some popular lines from the book.

1. “Forgiveness is a gift of high value. Yet its cost is nothing.” — Betty Smith

2. “The world was hers for the reading.” — Betty Smith

3. ”Books became her friends, and there was one for every mood.” — Betty Smith

4. “I need someone to understand how I feel at a time like now.” — Betty Smith

5. “Every time you fall in love, it will be because something in the man reminds you of him.” — Betty Smith

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6. “She was made up of more, too. She was the books she read in the library.” — Betty Smith

7. “Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words.” — Betty Smith

8. “And always, there was the magic of learning things.” — Betty Smith

9. “We’re too much alike to understand each other because we don’t even understand our own selves.” — Betty Smith

10. “On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.” — Betty Smith

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Quotes About Living Life

The book teaches lessons on life, as shown in the following quotes.

11. “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.” — Betty Smith

12. “Sometimes I think it’s better to suffer bitter unhappiness and to fight and to scream out, and even to suffer that terrible pain, than to just be… safe.” — Betty Smith

13. “There are very few bad people. There are just a lot of people that are unlucky.” — Betty Smith

14. “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.” — Betty Smith

15. “I want to live for something. I don’t want to live to get charity food to give me enough strength to go back to get more charity food.” — Betty Smith

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16. “Intolerance is a thing that causes war, pogroms, crucifixions, lynchings, and makes people cruel to little children and each other. It is responsible for most of the viciousness, violence, terror, and heart and soul breaking of the world.” — Betty Smith

17. “If you ever find a man you love, don’t waste time hanging your head and simpering. Go right up to him and say, ‘I love you. How about getting married?” — Betty Smith

More of A Tree Grows in Brookly Quotes to Enjoy

Relive your favorite parts of the story with these quotes.

18. “Who wants to die? Everything struggles to live.” — Betty Smith

19. “There’s a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven.” — Betty Smith

20. “We’ll leave now so that this moment will remain a perfect memory…let it be our song and think of me every time you hear it.” — Betty Smith

21. “A story was something you made up out of something that might have happened. Only you didn’t tell it like it was; you told it like you thought it should have been.” — Betty Smith

22. “When you write of actual things, it takes longer because you have to live them first.” — Betty Smith

23. “But she needs me more than she needs him, and I guess being needed is almost as good as being loved. Maybe better.” — Betty Smith

24. “If there was only one tree like that in the world, you would think it was beautiful. But because there are so many, you just can’t see how beautiful it really is.” — Betty Smith

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25. “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.” — Betty Smith

What Happens to Francie and Her Family?

Johnny’s premature death forces Francie to get a job to help pay for living expenses and to save money for high school, which she gives to her brother Neely.

Francie is a very driven and serious young lady, though, and works to pass high school without attending so that she can go to college.

Francie finally gets admitted to the University of Michigan, and her family moves out of the apartment to live in her mom’s rich new husband’s home.

Francie takes a moment to look at her childhood home, sees the “Tree of Heaven” growing in the apartment’s yard, and realizes that, like the tree, her family never gave up and persevered.

Please share these A Tree Grows in Brooklyn quotes with your family and friends and post any comments about this book in the comment section below.

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