So does anyone else have favorite narrators for audiobooks? I’m sure folks do, and I have found for the ladies my favorite is Ms. Kirsten Potter. I first heard her do the Station Eleven audiobook, and since then I’ll listen to anything she reads. When she’s narrating a book that’s already on my TBR list? Dunzo.
Brooklyn is the story of Ellis Lacey. Ellis is a young woman in small town Ireland with almost no prospects. When a kindly priest from Brooklyn offers to help her find work in America, Ellis is unsure, but her older sister encourages her to give it a chance. Ellis moves to Brooklyn and there meets quite the cast of characters from her landlady, the other girls boarding, her coworkers and a handsome boy. Ellis learns to navigate life in America over a couple of years and falls in love. Tragedy strikes back home so she ends up returning. Now Ellis is caught between two worlds and must decide. I love these kinds of books usually, especially when beautifully written (as Mr. Toibin fits the bill quite well)
This one resulted in a lot of complicated feelings for me. I really loved Mr. Toibin’s writing and his character development. Everyone was multi-dimensional and felt like real people. Tony, Ellis’ American love, was wonderful and adorable and you couldn’t help but fall a little in love with him. What was harder about the story for me was how much I didn’t like Ellis. She was young and naive at the start, and while I was sympathetic to her situation I never really bonded with her. As the story continued I liked her less and less. She was very reserved (which I get), but it resulted in her being so passive that she let things happen to her rather than acting. Towards the end when she has to make her big decision even then she continually puts it off, and really at the end the decision was made for her, not by her. For that I think she deserves neither Tony nor Jim (Irish love). They both deserve someone who actively wants to be with them, as all people do. It just left me very sad for both of them, and frustrated with Ellis.
Overall, it was a beautiful little story, but one that I didn’t connect as much as I thought I would. Coming-of-age stories are some of my absolute favorites, but this one’s heroine just wasn’t strong enough for me. It’s three stars due to wonderful writing, but less stars on the I didn’t like the heroine.