The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.



A very popular movie in the theatres recently is Brooklyn (A) based on the book by Colm Toibin. I haven’t seen the movie…yet, however, after reading this great novel I intend to…. soon.

The struggle is real for Eilis Lacey. Her family doesn’t have it easy in her hometown in Ireland. Her three brothers have already left home to work in Dublin and her sister Rose supports Eilis and their mother as a secretary. Eilis has a tremendous aptitude with numbers and there is great hope that she will be able to pursue a career as a bookkeeper.

Without her knowing, Rose reaches out to Father Flood, an Irish priest living and working in America. He is able to sponsor Eilis’s journey to Brooklyn where he has located a promising job for her with the ability to attend school as well.

Eilis faces many challenges along the way. Clearly she suffers from being homesick. She is extremely stressed by all that is expected of her. She constantly makes decisions that would be best for everyone often not for herself. Her character is one that I felt very strongly about. I felt others often led her and I desperately wanted her to be stronger and more assertive. I also wished she could have better dealt with her mother, Mrs. Kehoe and her inner feelings.

The writing at times reminded me a bit of Maeve Binchy with all the hometown bits of gossip. Toibin writes a good novel with an ending that I feel a bit conflicted about. It will be interesting to see how Hollywood handles it in the movie. I did want more and maybe he left the door open for a sequel. That would be rather nice.

A while ago, I gave up on his next book Nora Webster but after reading Brooklyn, I think I will give it another go. There is obviously more to Toibin than I gave him credit for.




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