Character Appreciation: Katie Nolan from “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”


Katie Nolan is probably who I’m most scared of encountering in an alley. All of the Rommely women are said to be made of “invisible steel”, something which is seen in all of the characters, but most especially in the perpetually exhausted but ever resilient Katie. The man she loves is an alcoholic, there is rarely enough money to feed her children, and she worked full-time as a cleaner to provide when her husband couldn’t. Katie seemed tough on Francie at times, but there is absolutely nothing that Katie wouldn’t do for her children, and that’s why she works so hard to give them the best life possible. In the end, Francie is heading off to college and Neeley is building a future as a jazz piano player. None of that would have happened if Katie hadn’t been the fierce, dependable, and committed parent that her husband wasn’t able to be.


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