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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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This is the story of a girl growing up in Brooklyn, NY in the years just before WWI. The author uses the main character, Francie, as a vehicle to tell the amazing story of her life in a time when there weren't welfare, social agencies, psychologists or birth control. Francie's family plays a game called Survival when the cupboard is bare. The parents are poor uneducated Brooklynites who struggle to give their children a better life. This book is a testiment to tenecious hardworking people in the early 1900s.