When I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I read about my grandparents, born in New York to Irish immigrants just a year after the book closes. I read about myself, a girl from a city who loved to look at trees from her apartment window and read as if her life depended on it. I read about the Williamsburg streets that I walk down today, then populated with pickle barrels and rag pickers. I read about women who have sexual lives, whose sexuality affects every aspect of their experience, whether they feel plain desire or mere curiosity, the fear of pregnancy or a longing for children, a weary awareness of unwanted attention or the terrifying reality of violence. I read about shame and class and loving people who hurt you as well as themselves.