August Reading Selection

Title: Infidel

Author: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

MeetUP Date: Thursday, August 23rd

Time: 6:00 PM

Place: TBD

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Review

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Daisy May’s filled our bellies.  The restaurant was well worth the trip across the avenues.  The ribs were mouthwatering, the cornbread was tantalizingly golden, and the mashed sweet potato was – for lack of a better word, orgasmic. 

Now on to the book…

Francie captured our hearts in A Tree Grows in Broolyn.  This book was rated a ten for superb, it was heartbreaking and uplifting.  Betty Smith does an amazing job depicting the lives of the Nolan family through the eyes of Francie.  She transports you to an era in Brooklyn when many poor immigrants strived for a better way of life by assimilating into American society while also preserving their own cultural beliefs/practices.  It’s a story of the will survive, to persevere, to transcend one’s circumstances.  We followed Francie’s journey to become an accomplished young woman despite her family’s impoverished lot in life.  Though flawed and imperfect, Francie embraces her family and her community.  Her father, Johnny Nolan, is a singing waiter and a drunk.  Her mother, Katie Nolan, is a janitor and the main provider. We then meet Francie’s aunts, grandparents, and a myriad of others who influence her development both directly and indirectly. 

Here are some excerpts from the book that may entice you to keep reading:

The last time of anything has the poignancy of death itself. This that I see now, she thought, to see no more this way. Oh, the last time how clearly you see everything; as though a magnifying light had been turned on it. And you grieve because you hadn’t held it tighter when you had it every day. What had Granma Mary Rommely said? ‘To look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.’


A person who pulls himself up from a low environment via the boot-strap route has two choices. Having risen above his environment, he can forget it; or, he can rise above it and never forget it and keep compassion in his heart for those has left behind him in the cruel up climb. The nurse had chosen the forgetting way.

A Tree Grows iN Brooklyn – MeetUP

It’s much too hot for anything other than a BBQ meal.  So, let’s take our discussion over to Daisy May’s.  I’m sure they’ll have something to please the pickiest of palates. 

Location: 623 11th Ave, New York, NY (corner of 46th Street) 

Phone: 212.977.1500

Time: 6:00 PM

Date: July 11, 2012

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Discussion Questions

General Questions:

What did you think of the book?

Would you recommend it to anyone ?  Why or why not?

Rate the book on a scale of 1-10 (1 for terrible 10 for superb)

Meat of it Questions:

Think about Francie’s stage of development when America enters the war. The narrator writes that the Rommely women are “made of invisible steel.” How do the character developments of Johnny and Katie parallel the relationship between Evy and Willie?

How and why have our society’s perceptions of poverty changed – for better or worse – during the last one hundred years?

How is Francie like Katie?  How is she not?

Which characters are the most convincing? The least?

What is the significance of Francie’s trip to the doctor’s office?

Although people look down on Sissy’s promiscuity, Francie adores her, and Katie believes she is good and generous to everyone she meets. What makes Sissy good, and how does her character reflect on the morals of the book in general?

Describe the community that Francie and her family live in.  How do they fit in? 

What are your thoughts on the relations between different ethnic groups?

What is the role of women in the novel?

What are your thoughts on the title of the novel and its meaning?

Describe the gender relations throughout the book.

What connection could be made between Francie’s early writing—including the stories that her teacher rejects—and Smith’s work in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?

What are your thoughts on Francie’s relationships throughout the book? What did you think of Lee, for example?  And what did you think of Katie’s thoughts on this relationship?

All about you

Your favorite characters were….and why?

Your favorite quote was….and why?

You kept reading because…

You did not like….

June Selection

Congrats to Janelle and our honoree   member, David.  The two plunged into marriagehood yesterday.  With all of the wedding planning completely done, let’s get to reading together again!  Looking forward to renewing our reading vows and catching up. 

Selection: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Moderator: Jessica

Date: June 26

Time: 6:30 PM

Location: TBD 

All in favor, can’t wait to see ya!

April Meetup – CANCELLED

Hey all,

I guess Uncle Sam has once again shown his ugly head causing our meetup to be cancelled due to scheduling commitments.  With the reduced members, and the few responses that I have received that some folks will not be attending,  I have opted to cancel tonigh’ts meet up.  I have not heard from some of you, and assumed that you would not be able to make it as well.

It seems we have lost the most important piece of this group, and I hope with those that remain we return to that place.

I must say that I enjoyed reading the book and was anxiously waiting to discuss some of the relevant social issues highlighted in the book.  You would have also enjoyed the game and also the prizes,  but let’s not cry over spoilt milk.  Moving right along, I look forward to seeing you all next month. We need the genre and/or selections for next month along with a moderator.  Please feel free to respond to this post or send me an email.


April Meetup Location

Hi ladies,  the long wait is over!  Our meetup date is swiftly approaching and guess what, I found a great restuarant that I think we will enjoy.I hope you all are able to attend, but please contact me no later than noon on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 if you are unable to make it.

We have lots to do:

- the book, changes in our club structure, dues , attendance and any other business you would like discuss.

See you soon.


640 Third Ave.
New York, NY 10017

Phone: 212-286-0250
Fax: 212-286-0253


Located on the Northwest corner of 41st St. & 3rd Ave.

April Meet-up Selection

April Book Selection: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

April Moderator: Janelle (outkastchic)

April Meet-up Date: Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

To accommodate a few members with schedule conflicts, please let me know if we can make this on Tuesday, April 24th. If we can move it without any problems, great! If we can’t, we will see you all on the date above. Feel free to respond to the blog or send me an email if we can make this change.

April Meet-up Time: 6:30pm

April Meet-up Location: TBD (suggestions are welcome)

April MeetUp

I can smell it…. can you?  Spring is on its way! 
I went searching for a few books for us to vote on and thanks to Sabrina, below are our selections.  Let the voting begin.
1) Cleopatra- A Biography by Duane Roller
2) Climbing the Broken Stair- A Memoir by Frieden A. Adkins
3) Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil by  John Berendt
4) House of Prayer No. 2 by Mark Richard

~Janelle (outkastchic)

March Meeting

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’ve all been enjoying  the awesome weather in NYC!  The next meeting will be at:

Location: Talent Thai Kitchen (tel (212) 725-8888)

Time: Wednesday, March 28th @ 6:30 pm

Address: 210 E 34th St (b/w 2nd & 3rd aves)

Directions: 6 train to 33rd st

Please let us know if you will not be able to make it to this mtg by leaving a msg in the comment section of this post. 

Can’t wait to see all of you!