Tuesday 6 June 2017

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin // Book Review 2017

Eilis Lacy, sitting at the window of the upstairs living room in the house on Friary Street, noticed her sister walking briskly from work. She watched Rose crossing the street from sunlight into shade, carrying the new leather handbag that she had bought in Clery's in Dublin in the sale. Rose was wearing a cream-coloured cardigan over her shoulders. Her golf clubs were in the hall; in a few minutes, Eilis knew, someone would call for her and her sister would not return until the summer evening had faded. 

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin // I must say before I begin reviewing the book, that I actually saw the movie first, starring Saoirse Ronan - and LOVED it. It can then be hard going to read the book with the images and ideas of the movie already in your head. And I think because of my enjoyment of the movie, I actually wasn't a big fan of the book. It's a hard one to explain because the book and the movie are almost identical in plot and even the script is similar to the sentences written in the book. BUT the movie somehow manages to create a little bit of magic that was lacking in the original written version. It's funny because I'm quite a big believer in that 'the book is always better', but personally, not in this case. 

The book follows the life of Eilis Lacey, a young unemployed Irish girl from a very small town, who gets the opportunity to emigrate to New York. Eilis knows she must go, leaving behind her family and home for the first time. We follow her through the difficulties she faces when arriving in the gigantic and unfamiliar city, and the new adventures she encounters. After a few months of misery, Eilis is finally happy and settled into her new surroundings, making new friends and experiencing love for the first time with an Italian boy called Tony, when she is suddenly called back to Ireland. She then realises that life back home has completely changed, she is suddenly employable (which she wasn't before) and a new love interest emerges, giving her a terrible dilemma - should she go back to New York, or stay in her home town, now that things have picked up?

Honestly, I wasn't the biggest fan of Eilis whilst reading, I thought she came across a little selfish and annoying at times, and was really angry at some of her decisions. Her life in New York , after she gets over the loneliness and homesickness, seems idyllic, and personally, I love the character of Tony. He seems lovely and genuinely enamoured with Eilis...

This is still a good read and I do recommend it, but (and I will hate myself for saying this), it might be easier and quicker just to watch the movie - it's beautifully shot with fantastic costumes and imagery. Let me know what you think and if you disagree with me - is the book better than the movie?

More soon,



  1. Never read or watched the film. It will be good to read first then watch. Either way, sounds like you weren't disappointed. So I'll be checking this out.

    1. Thanks for your kind comment - I think it would be better to read the book first, the movie is amazing though! x

  2. I never read the book or saw the film. But I must do it!
    The Fancy Cats

    1. Yes I would definitely recommend both :D x

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