by Colm Tóibín

September 2016

I just finished Brooklyn and I don’t get the hype. I was not a huge fan. I didn’t dislike the book, but I was annoyed/frustrated through the whole thing. It drove me nuts that Eilis was so spineless and just went along with anything. And then at the end when she’s back in Ireland. She was so deceitful and wishy-washy . . . I was just so annoyed!! So, while I thought it was beautifully written, I was too annoyed to enjoy the book.

Eilis is a young woman living in Ireland with her mother and her sister, Rose. Her father is dead and her two brothers are working in England. She is leading a normal, but uneventful life until one day Rose arranges for her to move to Brooklyn, New York to work and get trained in book keeping. She is homesick at first but soon settles in and does well at everything she sets her mind to. Almost a year in from her move she meets a boy named Tony who woos her and they get engaged after knowing each other for a while. As the end to a second year approaches, Eilis finishes her book keeping school and passes with flying colors. Spoilers: Then she gets the news that Rose has passed away because she had a heart condition and her heart gave out in her sleep. Eilis is heartbroken and knows she needs to return home, but before she does, Tony asks her to marry him before she leaves and she agrees. Once she is home in Ireland, she starts second guessing her whole life in New York City and gets comfortable with her mom and friends. She learns that her mom has agreed for the two of them to attend a wedding after Eilis is supposed to have returned to America. Eilis decides to postpone her return trip and stay for the wedding. She doesn’t let Tony know right away and she meets a young Irishman, Jim, whom she leads on, even kissing him and going on dates with him, while not telling him she’s married. Finally, the pressure becomes too much and she books passage back to America for the next day and tells her mom the whole story. Her mom is crushed, but sends her off. Eilis leaves and doesn’t explain anything to Jim. It was so annoying and so frustrating how Eilis was swayed to do things and go along with things so easily. I admired that she went back to her husband in the end, because that was a tough decision. But I did not admire her for anything else.

Summing it up: I spent the book so frustrated at Eilis, that I did not really enjoy the book. I don’t recommend it. What did you all think?

All the best, Abbey


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