I worked late tonight but felt obligated to write my review of the charming Brooklyn on St. Patrick’s Day in honor of Eilis Lacey’s Irish heritage.
Eilis is from a small Irish town where jobs are scarce following WW2. She moves to America where she works in a store and begins taking bookkeeping classes at Brooklyn College. At a local dance hall she meets an Italian boy, Tony, who she begins a relationship with despite their difference in heritage (which is a huge deal). After a sudden loss back in Ireland, Eilis returns home where she has to make a choice about her future.
Overall I enjoyed the 1950s coming of age story but I had a lot of the same criticisms I’ve seen in other reviews. Mainly, that Eilis is a very passive protagonist; most of the plot moving events in the novel happen TO Eilis rather than having the action move forward because of the decisions Eilis makes on her own. The only non-spoilery example I can give you would be to say that moving to America, on her own and at a young age, wasn’t a decision in which she had any input.
There aren’t a lot of big moments in Brooklyn, the stakes aren’t high, no one’s life is in danger and the world won’t be a better or worse place following the character’s actions. However, it is snapshot of a young woman who is trying to find her way in the world which can feel very high stakes for the young woman whose life it is.