Monday, September 26, 2011
Review of Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Author: Colm Toibin
Published by: Scribner Book Company
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Summary from Goodreads: Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, she cannot find a job in the miserable Irish economy. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
This was an adult novel that I read for my adult literature book club. I don't think I ever would have picked up this novel on my own, but I am glad that I read it.
As most of you know I usually read young adult literature but I used to read a ton of adult literature too before I started blogging. So when I picked up this novel I was swept away by it. There was a different tone to it than YA books and it was like a drink of water I desperately needed.
I absolutely adored the first two thirds of this novel. While I didn't connect with Eilis I still enjoyed her story and loved watching her change and become her own person. I thought it was great that she was interested in an education and in working instead of just finding a husband and becoming a house wife. This was not common for the time period and I'm glad that she was more focused on her schooling then she was on Tony.
Tony was the perfect guy. If he came knocking at my door I wouldn't let him go. I like how family oriented he was and he cared so much for Eilis. He changed around his schedule and would walk her home from class just so he'd get to spend a couple of minutes with her. I know...doesn't he just sound like the sweetest guy you've ever met?
As for the ending, while I won't give anything away, I did not like it at all. My euphoria from the start of the book quickly vanished displaced by unease and contempt.
Overall I did enjoy this novel and it was a nice change from my typical reading genres.