Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Movie tie-in Edition
Published by Emblem
Published on Aug 21, 2015
Subtle storytelling at it’s finest. For a story where not much happens I found that I could not put it down. Such a compelling read.
Eilis is living with her mother and sister in 1950’s Ireland, where there is not a lot of prospect for her there. She somewhat lives in the shadow of her sister, who has done quite well for herself. Her sister Rose meets a priest from America and together they come up with the plan to send Eilis to America. The plan is for her to go to Brooklyn where Father Flood’s parish is and he has provided her with lodgings at a boarding house and she will work behind a counter at a Bartocci’s Shop.
Her journey to America is not an easy one and once she lands she quietly goes about her new daily routine. When a letter arrives from back home, homesickness settles in and Eilis becomes grief stricken. It becomes difficult for her to work and because of that her employer enlists Father Flood’s help. He thinks that enrolling her in to school for accounting will keep her busy enough that she will no longer be homesick. He also starts a dance for the local Irish people and there she meets Tony.
As things are going well for Eilis, she is doing well in school, job is going great and has a wonderful boyfriend she is pulled away from all that after a tragedy back home has her sent back to Ireland.
When books are told in third person narrative I sometimes find it hard to connect with the character. I did find myself connecting with her and I thought it was brave that she moved to a new country alone and be able to start a new life for herself. Eilis is acquiescent in the major decisions in her life, she just accepts what everyone has planned for her.
Tony was a funny, charming and sweet character. I loved how much he loved Eilis and I really enjoyed reading about their romance. I kind of understood Eilis hesitation about her relationship with Tony, I believe she is used to doing things that her family would approve of and her mom probably wouldn’t want her dating someone who is not Irish. I am guessing that is why she fails to tell her mom about the relationship.
I was a little frustrated with Eilis when she went back home. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it, so I won’t say anything more about the ending.
I do find this book to be a worthwhile read and recommend people to give it a try. I rated this book 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.