Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a selection from one of my book clubs, selected after it was made into a movie, and nominated for an Oscar. The movie didn't win, but many of the book club members saw the movie and read the book. Some read it before seeing the movie. I'm glad I read the book first.
Brooklyn is a coming-of-age story of young Eilis Lacey, whose sister along with a Priest recognizes there is little work in Ireland for a young woman, and help her to migrate to the US. The Priest helps her find a room in a rooming house, a job at department store, and entry into night school.
Eilis (it took me about a chapter before I stopped thinking her name was "Ellis." More on that later)...Eilis finds love at one of the weekly dances at the parish. Tragedy strikes the family back home in Ireland and Eilis goes home to help her mother for a few weeks.
I found the book to be rather slow moving, tedious at some points. The author is not specific about some of the details, and leaves it to the reader to wonder.
The movie, on the other hand, moved over a lot of the tedious moments as when Eilis was lonely and seriously homesick, before she met Tony. She was less of a tragic figure than the Eilis of the book.
The ending of the book was rife with conversations that were more "signifying" than specific, and made me wonder how Eilis would proceed. Those same conversations in the movie were direct and left no question of how Eilis would proceed.
I did love the Irish brogue. Eilis is pronounced "Eye-lish." And the singing of the down-trodden old men at the Christmas dinner was heart-breaking.
I give the book four stars. The movie I rate as five.
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