Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

I'm reading A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

It is a very excellent book. But I'm plowing my way through it slowly not because of the story or the setting or the protagonist or the writing. All of that is top notch and engaging.

"There is here, what is not in the old country. In spite of hard unfamiliar things, there is here - hope. In the old country, a man can be no more than his father, providing he works hard. If his father was a carpenter, he may be a carpenter. He may not be a teacher or a priest. He may rise - but only to his father's state. In the old country , a man is given to the past. Here he belongs to the future. In this land, he may be what he will, if he has the good heart and the way of working honestly at the right things."

Francie's father doesn't want to work honestly at anything. His trade is 'singing waiter' but his life's work is bitching about how unfair life is and getting stupid drunk. And he applies himself to his work.

So I'll be reading along and then WHAM a close-ambush when the lout spends the day at the union hall getting soused with his no-good shanty Irish buddies.  While his wife - a good woman if there ever was one - works her fingers to the bone cleaning tenements. 

In a testimony as to how good this is all written [1] I have to set the book down for a while because a fictional character has pissed me right the fuck off.

So it is taking a while to get through it.  And what am I reading while I get over being irritated at Francie's dad?  'The Sling And The Stone' by Colonel Tom Hammes (USMC). 

But that's another blog entry.

[1] That or I have head-space issues.
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