‘Maggie-Now’ by Betty Smith

'Maggie-Now' by Betty Smith

'Maggie-Now' by Betty SmithBetty Smith is best known as the author of coming-of-age-tale ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ – which happens to also be one of my most favorite books. For me, it is most important for a book not to have an exciting plot, or an exhilarating climax, but instead to have memorable and well-developed characters – and Betty Smith excels in creating characters. Reading a Betty Smith tale is like sitting down to a girls night discussion and chatting with your closest friends. If you have never read a novel by Betty Smith, you are missing out – and ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ would be a great place to start. Then move on to ‘Joy in the Morning’ – a real gem – and finally end your Smith-capades with this tale, namely ‘Maggie-Now’.

‘Maggie-Now’ was written several years after the success of a ‘Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ and has a similar theme and voice. Both novels are placed in Brooklyn, New York – at a time when the fashionable did not consider BK to be an ‘it’ spot. At the time of this tale, Brooklyn was a place for young immigrants and their families; those whom were working to achieve the American Dream.

Heroine, Maggie-Now is just a girl. Some novels offer excitement and intrigue, pirates and dashing rescues, but this novel is just about life – Maggie’s life. Maggie is neither rich nor incredibly poor, she is neither over-worked nor lazy – she just ‘is’ in so many respects. She loses her mother at a young age and for a large portion of the tale you ride along with her as she attempts to care for her infant brother, and her lazy father. Throughout the tale, Smith takes her readers through a very real and honest portrayal of what life was like in a little house in Brooklyn, New York with a girl who was just reaching for her own bit of happiness.

‘And sometimes understanding is nearly as good as love because understanding makes forgiveness a more or less routine matter. Love makes forgiveness a great, tearing emotional thing.’

Salon Summary

RECOMMENDABILITY: 4 {out of 5} stars  |  ★★★★☆
REPETITIVE READABILITY: 2 {out of 5} stars  |  ★★☆☆☆
RATING: 4 {out of 5} stars  |  ★★★★☆

2 thoughts on “‘Maggie-Now’ by Betty Smith

  1. E, Betty also apparently wrote a book called ‘Tomorrow Will Be Better’ that I hear is terrific – but my local library hasn’t been able to get their fingers on it. Those are the only four novels I have discovered by her thus far. I’m still looking for a good bio on her too. Let me know what you think of Maggie-Now!

  2. I had no idea this book even existed! I thought Tree and Joy were her only books. I’m definitely picking it up right now. Thanks Carolann!

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