Although Francie's family are poor, and they have to face many obstacles in life, the book is in no way depressing. Betty Smith brings the characters to life. I believe that she originally wrote it as a memoirs but called it fiction to get it published. It would be fascinating to know how true to life are all the characters and events.Auntie Sissy, who never went to school, is no doubt promiscuous but a lovely person who, in spite of the taboos of the time Francie does not consider her to be a bad woman. Who was the father of the baby she adopts? Could the school authorities be so easily fooled? Francie's father is such a likeable rogue and her mother too proud to accept charity. Could a doctor really believe that an 11 year old could not understand what he is saying about her being so poor and dirty? Could 2 such small children really catch such a big Christmas tree?Francie's uneducated grandmother ensures that she and her brother grow up not only being able to be able to read and write but to also know the bible and Shakespeare inside out.Whilst in some ways little happens in the book, you still want to read on.I would recommend this for any woman to read, but leave the Prologue to the end.