Friday, September 30

Book Review: Brooklyn

Title: Brooklyn

Author: Colm Tóibín

Pages: 262

Summary: At the centre of Colm Tóibín’s internationally celebrated novel is Eilis Lacey, one of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary fiction. Eilis has come of age in small-town 1950s Ireland in the hard years following the Second World War. When she receives a job offer in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go. Leaving her family and country behind, Eilis heads for unfamiliar Brooklyn, and to a crowded boarding house where he landlady’s intense scrutiny and the small jealousies of her fellow residents only deepen her isolation. Slowly, however, the ain of parting and a longing for home are buried beneath the rhythms of her new life - until she begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

My Rating: 5.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I've been reading this book in a read-a-long this past month (September), and although I liked the idea behind the book, in the end the book was not for me.

I liked the writing style, usually I do enjoy a more in-depth style but, this short declarative style worked for the story. The author was able to tell the story and show the reader the immigration experience, including how a person slowly integrates themselves into their new community, but other than that the book didn't work for me.

I didn't like the characters, I gave them a chance, but they just didn't work. Yes, Eilis' housemates were a very odd group, catty and showed a widespread of different reactions and methods of assimilating themselves into a new country, but the characters had little to make them interesting and fleshed out. There was a bit of development for Eilis part of the way through the book, and I started to become interested in the story, but somewhere it seemed to fall apart, Eilis and Tony's relationship was the worst thing that happened to the book I liked the aspects of showing the hardships of the immigration experience, and adapting to the new surroundings, I just wish the author had stuck to that, instead of trying to make a romantic story out of it.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm on the fence, I think some readers would enjoy it, but for the most part, I'm not sure I would.

What to read next: The Gathering

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, Ireland Reading Challenge


  1. I listened to this on audio a few months ago, and haven't quite been able to write my review yet. It just seemed like such a quiet book, and not very much happens in it. I also really didn't like the ending and felt that it was wrong. I can understand your feelings on this one, Jules.

  2. Zibilee - I didn't mind the quietness of the book that much, it was the story just didn't work, mainly because of the characters. Oh and the ending? Bah! Glad to see there is more out there who didn't like the ending as well.