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Don't Be Afraid of the Dork

Covered in dog hair, Obsessed with books, Wondering what it's all about. I suspect the answer is ice cream and the ocean.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty  Smith A coming of age story focused on Francie Nolan growing up poor in the heavily immigrant district of Williamsburg in Brooklyn during the early 1900's. This is a book all about characterization and setting and both of these elements are portrayed with a simple and beautiful prose.

Brooklyn is practically a character in the book - it is brought to life with a heavy dose of affection and reverence for the neighborhood and the way of life, hardscrabble as it was.

And while I liked Francie I loved her Papa, Johnny Nolan, handsome,talented, charismatic, kind-hearted and sentimental but weak, unable to withstand the pressures of being responsible for a family. Even as he lets the family down and drinks himself to death, I saw him through Francie's eyes and my heart broke with hers. Every character, no matter how awful, was sympathetic at least in some tiny way.

It was a great read that went quickly despite having no page-turning plot. I really enjoyed getting to know the Nolans and their relations and neighbors - by the end they felt like folks I know though I have never met the like.