I just finished the modern classic, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith. It's one of those that I can say I'm glad I did, but I'm also a bit glad to be done.
Here's my assessment:
Impressive writing, especially considering her background. It was written with true grit.
Not very cheery, at almost any spot in the book. One of those you have to look hard for it.
I skimmed some. Some parts were a bit like watching paint dry. Then I'd hit a part that revived my interest, so I'd press on through more paint, to the next glimmer.
All in all, it's a book most should read, taking place in the early 1900's, right up til when WWI took place. There were great reminders of how hard life used to be, (we DON'T have it hard!) what it felt like to be an immigrant family in our country, and examples of pure 'rolling-up-your-sleeves' work ethic we could use more of in this country of ours.
My hands-down favorite passage in the book (Chapter 48):
'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."Intentional living summed up so excellently, sixty-five plus years ago.