Preface; I don’t mean anything I say here. I’m sure all these people are great people. They are probably smart, funny, kind, caring people. I bet there are tons of books we would agree on. I like meeting people who have read some of my favorite books even if we disagree. I genuinely do enjoy that. But sometimes I get sad…just a little…and like any other self-respecting internet dweller to remedy this; I find people online I disagree with and tell them that they are wrong. But I’m far too nice to say these things to these people, and I don’t say these things to these people because this is petty and about as stupid as arguing over music, and of that I’m aware. Instead I say it here and let out some steam. You guys took me too seriously last time around, I don’t care if you don’t like these books, I still love you guys. It’s ok, just let me vent a little. I have fun with this. Also for the record, there are plenty 1 or 2 star reviews that I leave alone because they are perfectly reasonable.
You all are crazy if you think I’m filling a post about this book up with a bunch of 1 and 2 star reviews, they are in here, but I’m going to celebrate the people who love it as well.
Khan (aka Awesome person at Goodreads 5/28/15 5 Stars
“Some books give young girls dreams of ponies, kittens, and visions of eternal love. This book is not one of them.
It slaps you in the face with reality, a reality that is very rarely pleasant.
I first read this book as a young teen, perhaps when I was 13 or 14. The main lesson I learned from it: Life is not fair. Life is hard. Life is harsh. People suffer. Good things do not come to those who wait. Even if you’re the best person in the world, life can still slap you in the face, and you can only take what fate has handed you.”
Let’s be friends.
Casey (aka Awesome Person at Goodreads) 5/30/08 5 stars
“I sob, and I mean sob, every time I read this book.”
I’m going to tell you a story Casey. A few years ago I was dating this guy. He played a lot of video games and when I would visit for the weekend I would bring a book or two. One of the first times I brought this book. He was playing his game and I was reading and I didn’t even realize I had started crying. He nudged me and I looked up and saw his horrified face. He was a great guy, but he wasn’t an avid reader so I don’t think he knew books could do that. Once again, he looked horrified and asked what was wrong. I explained that this book always made me cry, sometimes more so than other times, but it is inevitable. He asked what he was supposed to do. One of my favorite things about him was that he was so blunt and rational. I need as many blunt and rational people in my life as possible or I’ll start living in a dream world in my head. I explained to him that there was no specific function for him at a time like that. There was nothing he could do or should attempt to do rather than carry on playing his game. He didn’t seem satisfied with the answer, but kept playing his game anyways. From then on out whenever I got a book out to read while he was playing he would glance at the book and glance at me with a look of uncertainty. I had to explain it was only certain books. We caught up a few nights ago for the first time in almost a year and he asked me; ‘Does that book about trees still make you cry?’
Cheryl (aka Awesome Person at Goodreads)9/17/16 5 stars
” Coffee stains form tiny trails across the cover of my copy, which goes to show how long I stayed with this book.The last time I recall following a child narrator so closely, was in Frank McCourt’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning memoir, Angela’s Ashes.”
Yup, very similar to Angela’s Ashes. It’s just the female version. My copy is worn as well. A friend got me a new copy a few years ago for Christmas, it was thoughtful, but I still go to my worn copy when I wanna read it.
Chaitara 11/1/12 2 stars
“Some of the things were just frustrating. Like the scene where the local ladies pelt the girl with an illegitimate baby and Francie declares that “she hates women” and that men are somehow better than women because one man was concerned about that girl. What is that if not perpetrating prejudice? It serves no purpose that you make every strong character in your book a woman and then have them say that they hate women.”
It’s ok that sometimes some females don’t like other females. You wouldn’t like me, more than likely. Most feminist type females spend their time critiquing females like myself. See? We don’t all have to get along, and we can all still be strong characters.
Daniel (aka Awesome Person at Goodreads 12/26/12 5 stars
“This book spoke to my senses and played with my heart, and I am happier and fuller for the experience. Here is yet another book that deepens my love for books.”
I also believe I’m better for the experience of reading this book.
Phryrnne 6/5/15 1 star
“I struggled with this one. I found the book relentlessly depressing and the characters stereotypical.”
Life is depressing sometimes.
Donna 6/2/12 1 star
“There were situations & subjects written about that are completely inappropriate for the middle school age group who this is presented to as annual reading. I have middle school age children and would NEVER let them read this.”
Good Donna, shelter your kids from anything harsh. Poverty and struggle are not inappropriate. They are real. So is addiction, bigotry, and sexual predators. If you continue to pretend those things don’t exist for the sake of your middle school aged children life is going to hit them hard.
Audrey 8/18/12 1 star
“I tried to get into this but I just couldn’t. It was very depressing and I disliked all the swearing and crude references. It’s not a book that I enjoyed ‘being in’ at all. It just made me sad and disgusted”
Yet another one upset by swearing. How easy it is to upset some of you people.
Kari 12/18/10 1 star
“This book needs to not exist, in my opinion. One more book that seems to delight in showing people’s unlovely humanness and is “so realistic.” We don’t need this stuff!! Einstein says “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” That’s the way to go. (Fairy tales have quite enough of the unlovely anyway)”
I genuinely hope you are joking with this review, but I don’t believe you are. Fairy Tales are great, but life is more than that. And just because Einstein specifically said to read those does not mean he didn’t or wouldn’t agree with other reading as well.
Angie 12/06/13 1 star
“I feel so betrayed by all the good ratings and I wonder sometimes if anyone else actually reads.”
Nope Angie; you’re right, you’re the only one who actually reads. This whole Goodreads site is made up of people who don’t read, you are the only one who really understands books. Good for you.
Jane 7/28/10 2 stars
“It’s anti-semitic, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish, etc. How do people miss all this? I read it first in my forties and was completely offended and mystified that an Irish Catholic could write such a book—well, she wasn’t Irish or Catholic. Maybe that made it easier. Yes, the main character is a thoughtful and assertive woman who manages her own life. I get that. But it’s also a deeply bigoted and stereotyped book that I certainly wouldn’t want my impressionable daughter reading as an adolescent.”
The amount of times I’ve had to type the following words online is becoming disheartening; a book CANNOT be racist or anti-Catholic, or anti-semitic, or anti-Irish….It is completely impossible for a book to be these things. An author can be, sure….the reader can also be, but the book itself cannot be. Now let’s put it into context. It was turn of the century Brooklyn where all the sudden people of multiple races and religions were living together in crowded corners. There were religious and racial divides. To ignore that would be to ignore history. You wouldn’t want to ignore history just because it makes you uncomfortable would you? As far as your daughter; have more faith in her than that. Or maybe you’re worried that you didn’t raise her to be as strong and intelligent as you would have hoped, because had you raised her to be strong and intelligent you wouldn’t be worried about what a book could do to her.
Dorianne (aka Awesome Person at Goodreads) 10/6/07 5 stars
“First book I fell in love with.”
Maybe not my first, but definitely one of my hardest falls
Franzi (aka Awesome Person at Goodreads) 2/28/14 5 stars
“Ahh…it hurts to finish this book. I’m pretty sure that I won’t be reading a better book in 2014. This book just turned me inside out… Francie might be my all time favorite protagonist.”
You never have to finish it! Isn’t that great to know?!