Brooklyn Review

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín book actually belongs to my mum but as she left it in my hospital room when I was in so I gave it a go as it looked like a short and sweet read. I wasn't in the mood for anything too heavy and everyone said this was a pretty easy going book - they weren't kidding, in fact I found it to be one big yawnfest! To be fair I had just read Gone Girl, so most things were going to be a little dull after the wild ride that took me on, but I still didn't find this an enjoyable book.

brooklyn book review

Set in the 1950's, it's the story of an Irish girl, Eilis, who emigrates to Brooklyn in New York as work opportunities are sparse in her hometown. After a bit of a shaky start she finally begins to settle in until devastating news from home leaves her torn between her new world and her old life. I liked the fact that the characters are Irish, which I like in a book as there's something comforting about that for me as my Grandparents live in Donegal and I was intrigued what the news was. It sounded like a promising story!

And there's not much wrong with the plot. It's very realistic and believable but not so much so that it's not dramatic enough to keep your interest.  It just the devastating news doesn't happen until well after three quarters through which would be ok if the main character and the writing style weren't as boring as hell. You want to give Eilis a kick up the ass or something as she's just so dull - her emotions weren't expressed very well so it's hard to believe she's in love or devastated or feeling anything at all really. Everything is all written very matter of fact, even the couple of rude bits, it's kind of like reading from a textbook or some sort of official log. You get some sparks in the form of Tony and Rose and I think the landlady is written quite well but there are a couple of characters that sounded really interesting (such as Dolores and Mr Rosenblum) that we only get the briefest glimpse of. I just find it weird that they have more of a personality than Eilis. I wonder if it's meant to be like that, if she's supposed to be a very reserved character - but I just think the turmoil of moving from a quiet place in Ireland to the busy, multicultural streets of New York could have been written with so much more expression. All in all, I just found myself not caring about what happened to her which is never a good thing in a book! I honestly struggle to see how it's been so successful.

Saying this, I do really want to see the film. I was shocked they managed to make one out of this borefest but the three minute trailer is actually better than the whole book as the actors really bring the characters to life (hurrah, finally Eilis has some emotion!) 

Have you read this or seen the film? Can you recommend any short and sweet, easy going reads?


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