Customer Review

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars is a stretch, July 3, 2009
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This review is from: Brooklyn: A Novel (Hardcover)
Spare, beautiful writing gives this novel three stars. But the story itself is so lacking in depth, with unrealized characters. Eilis, the protaganist, offers so much potential for the author to plumb the history of the immigrant -- their myriad reasons for coming here, the struggles to make it, the ties to their home country.

Instead, life basically happens to this girl, with no real effort or participation of her own. She doesn't desire to come to America but it's conveniently planned out for her (including a job and home for when she arrives), she doesn't fall in love but rather comes to accept the love of another. I kept waiting for her to grow into and express her own intentions, to make her own decisions, but alas, even the ending is simply an acceptance of circumstances.

There were several tangential characters (sister Rose, the department store manager, the professor) who pique interest. I would have enjoyed learning more about them, and their stories could have elevated this passive, unfulfilling journey.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 21, 2010 2:02:13 PM PDT
I have to agree basically with this review and yet I found the writing engrossing and myself to want to read more of this author. As far as portraying the immigrant life better............or the motives thereof..........I beleive many of the young people in Ireland and England came as a solution to their parents financial constraints and simply did........as was expected of them. No questions asked. A concept unheard of today.

Posted on Jan 23, 2011 2:46:35 PM PST
Irma Perlman says:
So much of this tale is left in the inkwell--who is Eilis?Why are the other charactersmot brought to life.Where is Brooklyn?Is the ending predicting unhappiness?

Posted on Mar 26, 2014 1:20:04 PM PDT
Guy Smiley says:
I totally agree with this review. I found Ellis really annoying. She just kind of floats through the book. She has no preference. She never speaks up. It's like she's floating with the tide. Personally, I would have rather had the story center around Rose, who seemed like a much more dynamic person. I also agree it would have been nice to find out what happened with the professor.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2014 2:16:18 PM PDT
Sharon says:
Yes, where is Brooklyn, and the ending?
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