Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín is our second book in the Bloggers’ Book Club. The book club is growing, we now have more members: Marian, Treasa, Cathy, Marie, Jenn, Catherine, Edie, Jenny, Kirsty, Steph, Una, Susan, Winifred, Ann and Paysan.
As with the last book we read (A Thousand Splendid Suns), Brooklyn wasn’t a book I would have chosen for myself. I really enjoyed A Thousand Splendid Suns, sadly I can’t say the same about Brooklyn.
I haven’t read anything by Colm Tóibín before so I didn’t know what to expect.
The story follows a young lady called Eilis who is living in rural Ireland in the 1950’s. She lives with her mother and sister and is finding it difficult to get work, the only job she can get is on a Sunday in the village shop.
It is decided that Eilis will go to America. A priest has guaranteed her work in a department store in Brookyn. She endures a really awful boat journey to get there. When she is there she is living with an Irish landlady and other singles girls.
As well as working during the day she studies at college in the evenings. Hoping to better herself and get a book keeping job. As the time goes on she meets Tony, who is Italian. They start dating. Everything is going well for Eilis until her sister Rose dies. She decides to go home and spend sometime with her mother. I won’t tell you anymore of the story incase you decide to read the book.
Well now what did I think of it? To be honest I found it fairly dull. I would imagine the differences between Ireland and America in the 1950’s would be enormous and I don’t feel the author made enough of this. There were brief mentions of the various types of people in Brooklyn yet again not much.
I found it monotonous. Eilis got up, went to work, came home, went to college……day in, day out. With not much in between. A couple of mentions of the other girls and the landlady but I would have liked their stories to be told too. Towards the end I found myself getting cross with Eilis, she was so indecisive and didn’t seem to know what she wanted out of life.
Would I pick another book by Colm Tóibín? Maybe if there was nothing else to read!