Tom McCann’s delightful, sweet little book The Tree Nobody Wanted is a remembrance of a working-class Brooklyn Christmas in 1946. It’s a perfect holiday read — something to curl up and read aloud in front of a fire or after a big dinner and reflect on the way that family, love and friendship can overcome so much.
Also highly recommended: the audio edition.
The year is 1946, a year after the end of World War II.The place is Brooklyn — the poor side, the tough side: Brownsville.
The time is Christmas Eve. The Christmas tree sellers have turned off their lights and gone home. The lots are empty, except for a few forlorn trees that nobody wanted.
An eleven-year-old boy is sent out to pick through those trees and bring one back to the apartment where his Nanny raised him since infancy.
What follows is part fable, part remembrance, part miracle.
It’s a story of family values — even if “family” means a boy and his grandmother; a story of hope in hard times and great happiness growing from small things; a story of youth and age, rejuvenation and rebirth. It is a story of things that are not supposed to happen, but do. That’s part of the miracle.
Above all, it’s a love story — of a special kind that is the other part of the miracle.