Customer Reviews for

Brooklyn

Average Rating 3.5
( 155 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(52)

3 Star

(35)

2 Star

(27)

1 Star

(12)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

Touching and Hard to Forget

This Colm Toibin novel is one of the best books I have ever read. I love the delicate, thoughtful prose. The dialogue - such a hard thing for most writers to pull off - feels very real, too, as does the depiction of the immigrant experience. Slowly, patiently, and very ...
This Colm Toibin novel is one of the best books I have ever read. I love the delicate, thoughtful prose. The dialogue - such a hard thing for most writers to pull off - feels very real, too, as does the depiction of the immigrant experience. Slowly, patiently, and very deliberately, Toibin drew me in by narrating from protagonist Eilis' point of view and even reviewing previously-described events from Eilis' perspective. I was lulled into that state you may associate with a good movie: as you become attached to the characters, your stake in a particular sort of ending increases. And herein lies Toibin's skill: he drew me in *twice* -- tricked me with no trickery -- such that his quietly-worded ending delivered me an indescribably powerful punch. Unbelievable.

posted by MJinPA on May 5, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Oversimplified and not enough plot

This is a simple and gentle story about a young woman's immigration to New York from Ireland in the years after WWII. Much of the novel contains her personal thoughts and her analyzing her future and decisions and life in general. It has an easy pace with lots of desc...
This is a simple and gentle story about a young woman's immigration to New York from Ireland in the years after WWII. Much of the novel contains her personal thoughts and her analyzing her future and decisions and life in general. It has an easy pace with lots of descriptive elements and a vast array of characters.

I really wanted to love this book, but it just seemed oversimplified. I think virtually anyone could have thought up the plot if they were given the basic elements (girl alone in big city, first real job, meeting new people, family crisis). In fact, at one point it felt like an After School Special.

While Toibin depicts the female brain very well in some areas, there are other things that don't ring true. For example, other than her work and classes, the main character seems to have no curiousity about the world in general, or about the exciting new country she has come to. In subjects such as racism and the Holocaust, not only does she know nothing but she has no interest in learning more. And while we hear much of her thoughts, some subjects she doesn't even visit mentally: when her female boss makes a sexual pass at her, she feels uncomfortable but never ponders it again. Yet she ponders so much more trivial stuff all the time throughout the book (what to wear or where to eat)
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Additionally, while there are some tragic events, overall there doesn't seem to be enough conflict to make the story interesting. All the other characters are almost too good to be true, some crusty or cranky but all of them (excepting Miss Kelly) are big hearted and generous. Money is never really an issue, and things go amazingly smooth for such a huge life change. Again, that seems incredibly unrealistic. And the strange behavior of her fiance's moodiness, her mother's unpleasantness, and her landlady's suspicions are never really explored.

I intend to read more of his work (I have ordered the Blackwater Lightship) and I hope things become a bit more complex and realistic.

posted by SAHARATEA on January 2, 2010

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    Bewildering

    I have to laugh a little as I write this review. I liked the book, enjoyed reading it, but still do now know why. Maybe this is what a good writer can do. Write on seemingly nothing and make it seem like something. The time and places (Ireland and Brooklyn) were not particularly interesting nor were the characters. None of them really did anything special except live their daily lives which were not interesting either. There you have it.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Nothing Exrtraordinary, but still a well writtten novel

    I agree with others that this novel was a bit drawnout. It was a nice story but it took too long to tell in my honest opinion. It left me wanting just a little more. Read this after you finish the other books on your list.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2012

    Colm is a very good writer but this is a little tedious in place

    Colm is a very good writer but this is a little tedious in places. Interesting details but if he were a woman, this would be classified and mrketed as chicklit

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Brooklyn? Really?

    There really wasn't much about Brooklyn in this novel, at least not enough for it to merit the title. As it is, it is a love story about an immigrant girl who enjoys her new home in America, but then is forced to return to Ireland after a death in the family. What I liked about the book stopped at this point and unnecessary confusion reigned from that point on. Little of what happened in Ireland made sense given what had preceded it. Other than some location material, and Dodger talk, if you come to this book expecting to revisit Fulton Street and an older Brooklyn, there is no nostalgia here as Brooklyn is but a minor character.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2014

    Charming

    The whole time i was reading this it felt like I had picked up the book at a garage sale the old lady down the street was having. Nice story but the very beginning and very end were much better than the long mind numbing middle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Flat narrative, flat characters make this an unexceptional read.

    Flat narrative, flat characters make this an unexceptional read. Eilis is almost unlikable as a character, and her hesitations make her seem somewhat manipulative at times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    More to come..?

    Left me high and dry......was just getting good.....to be continued?

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  • Posted April 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A book that will engross you into the life of a girl going to America

    This is a book about a girl in Ireland that goes to American - Brooklyn not by her choice but by her families choice. I was totally engrossed into the main character's life. I felt like she did. She was brave ad had so much courage. She ended up liking it in America. There is a love story to that is really nice but the book could have ended differently. It leaves you hanging. I would read another book by this author.

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    Posted February 5, 2011

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    Posted June 11, 2014

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    Posted December 4, 2009

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    Posted April 26, 2011

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    Posted November 23, 2010

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