In this 1943 coming-of-age novel by Betty Smith, Francie Nolan, born into a family of Austrian-Irish immigrants, overcomes the poverty-stricken Brooklyn tenement in which she has been raised. She flourishes, just like the tree outside her home that continues to grow, against all odds, without water or light or soil. It's not a beautiful tree. It's not large, or even unique-looking. But Francie sees it every day, and every day it reminds her that life continues apace, regardless of (and despite) the many challenges to be found.