I'm reading Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for the first time. I've been completely enraptured by this book, and it's been a very long time since this has happened. There's no suspense, no mystery, no greaat big plot to finish. So why can't I put it down?
Betty Smith writes so beautifully about characters that you can't help but identify with them. But still, I'm constantly urged to move forward in the book...why?
The beautiful storytelling offers a world of horrible poverty, but with a small dose of hope. I read it so voraciously because I am taking in that hope. The hope is certainly better than the actually obtaining of anything...and I'm enjoying every second of it.
I STRONGLY recommend the read.
One of my favorite passages so far:
A mother speaks to her daughter, who has just given birth. The daughter is concerned about how she will bring up good children. The mother tells her daughter to teach them of God, and Jesus, and Santa Claus. The daughter asks why she should lie to her children about Santa Claus, when she knows he does not exist.
"Because, " [the mother explained], "the child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believe. She must start out by believing in things not of this world. Then when the world becomes too ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination..."
"The child will grow up and find out things for herself. She will know that I have lied. She will be disappointed."
"That is what is called learning the truth. It is a good thing to learn the truth one's self. To first believe with all your heart, and then not to believe, is good too. It fattens the emotions and makes them to stretch. When as a woman life and people disappoint her, she will have had practice in disappointment and it will not come so hard. In teaching your child, do not forget that suffering is good too. It makes a person rich in character."