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The author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn again reveals her compassionate, understanding gift for portraying the little people of a great city, their frustrated hopes and ambitions, their defensive bitterness, their zest for life beaten down by life itself. The setting is Williamsburg (part of Brooklyn) --the time the '20's. Margy Shannon never quite captures the imagination as did Francie, in the earlier book- but she emerges as almost as alive a figure, hopefully looking forward to securing her first job, a rung on the ladder which will lead to the sort of life she has never known, where mothers will be kind to their children, and marriage will mean happiness and understanding. It wasn't that way in Margy's own home, where poverty and fear and disappointment had turned her mother into a querulous nagger, and sent her father to the corner grog shop for a change. It wasn't so in Reenie's home, where her love for a Catholic boy was viewed as worse than death. It wasn't so in Frankie's home, where his mother's worship of her boy had combined with his father's bullying to make him a sissy, hesitant about the physical involvements of marriage, even to Margy, who was less ""that way"" than other girls he went out with. The day by day round- in the office, at home, on the streets, in the rare places of amusement possible for the poor -- faithfully photographed, with the pattern of thought and emotion captured, with occasional flashes of humor, of pathos. But there isn't the poignancy of the earlier book; somehow the humor is less spontaneous, the reflection somewhat blurred. But the warmth of understanding, the note of authenticity are there. And the writing has the same quality of reaching the heart of the story, making the people live and move.

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1948
Publisher: Harper