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I LOVE this book written by Betty Smith. An American classic, it is a story about a family in poverty in early 1900s America. There were so many great themes that were honestly yet tastefully portrayed there, notably: education, poverty vs wealthy, family life, male vs female roles, substance abuse, sex, truth, and to some extent, religion.

The writing was quite typically American: simple, easy to follow, with so many beautiful quotes. I nearly cried toward the end of the book…I guess one of the reasons why this book felt so dear to me was how strong the characters were, it was truly a book about overcoming adversity, not letting what is doled out to you be it; it was a book about fighting for what you don’t have.

Here are some of my favorite lines:

“This could be a whole life,” she thought. “You work eight hours a day covering wires to earn money to buy food and to pay for a place to sleep so that you can keep living to come back to cover more wires. Some people are born and kept living just to come to this…” 

“In teaching your child, do not forget that suffering is good too. It makes a person rich in character.” 

“Forgiveness is a gift of high value. Yet its cost is nothing.” 

“People always think that happiness is a faraway thing,” thought Francie, “something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains – a cup of strong hot coffee when you’re blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you’re alone – just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.” 

“Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life…And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.” 

“If there was only one tree like that in the whole world, you would think it was beautiful,” said Katie. “But because there are so many, you just can’t see how beautiful it really is.”

I could read this book again and again, and again…