My dad recommended this book to me and we listened to it in the car on our way to and from school the last couple of weeks. Dad is usually great at recommending books (he recommended I Know Why the Cadged Bird Sings), but they are all historical books because that is mostly what he reads. This book is the life story Frances Nolan, starting before her birth and ending when she is a teen. I would describe her life as complicated. It was filled with hardships: a constantly "sick" father, little food, little money, dropping out of school to work, not getting to go to high school, and other complications. Francie read a lot and read to escape from bad things and I can identify with that. One of the reasons my dad wanted me to read this book was that it talks about history: how immigrants were treated, the working class and other things in an interesting way. Another is that it is a classic growing up story. I think that everyone should read this book. Age, gender, reading level don't matter, just read it!!!