A book that was made into a movie:

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín


The third book I read as part of The Big Book Challenge was Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín. I thought this would be a good one to read as ‘a book that was made into movie’ because I had just recently been to see it in the cinema. I really loved the movie so I’d hoped I’d enjoy the book as much.

Brooklyn is a romantic drama about a young Irish immigrant moving from a small town in Ireland to Brooklyn, New York. The story follows Eilis as she falls in love, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a romantic novel, it’s much much more than that. 

For many reasons, this book didn’t disappoint. The first thing I loved was that it included my two favourite places in the world, my lovely country Ireland and New York. The second thing I loved was that although it was based in the 1950’s, there was still so much to recognise about Irish culture today. Apparently busy bodies are timeless.

My favourite characters in the book were Eilis, the main character (which is unusual for me because I normally don’t like main characters), Tony, the Italian-American who captures Eilis’ heart and Mrs. Keogh. Although I think I loved this character even more because of the brilliant portrayal of her in the movie by Julie Walters.

The only thing that let the book down for me was a piece of dialogue that really stuck with me from the movie. In it, Eilis has a conversation with Father Flood that goes like this:

Father Flood: We need Irish girls in Brooklyn.
Eilis Lacey: I wish that I could stop feeling that I want to be an Irish girl in Ireland.

I loved Eilis’ line and I looked for it in the book. I suppose if that’s the only fault I can find, it’s not bad going. 

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is from Ireland, wants to read about Irish culture in the 1950s and the reality of immigration, likes romantic drama novels or indeed just enjoys good writing.

Rating: 9.5/10.

4 Thoughts on “The Big Book Challenge #3

  1. Wow 9.5 out of 10 is a really high score! It deserves it though and I agree it very accurately portrays Ireland right up to the 70s. The language was what caught me. It’s kind of dated or maybe timeless. I admit I had trouble initially seeing the place in time in which it was set because a lot of the descriptions and dialogue still exist in many parts of rural Ireland. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • I really couldn’t fault it so I think it deserves the 9.5 out of 10. I liked the fact that some of the language appeared timeless. It’s the kind of book I’ll be recommending for a long time.

  2. Lovely piece Ali, I really enjoyed it too…just finished reading it on holidays and flew through it. I personally prefer reading a book before seeing a film based on it.
    His writing style makes everything so vivid and you can imagine the scenes and get transported into the various places while you read through each chapter. If I’ve already seen the film I just picture the actors and places the directors mind chose.
    I’ll definitely watch it now though as I loved the story and can’t wait to see how Julie Walters portrays Mrs. Keogh.
    9.5 is a well deserved score.

    • I’m the same Áine, I normally prefer to read the book first. I wasn’t expecting much from the movie but I enjoyed it so much I had to read the book. Naturally the book is always better but I’m sure you’ll enjoy the movie, it’s a great adaptation.

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