Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood “just like Ireland” — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.
Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
I’m not happy with this book’s blurb because I feel it reveals too much to the reader. Some of the things it reveals happen well after half of the book has passed. You’re supposed to make readers interested in the book, not tell them everything.
I actually didn’t know this book existed until after I watched the movie, and in the end I’m not completely satisfied with either. I liked the calm feel of the book, the detached writing style but sometimes everything was too calm and I wanted characters to react stronger and show that they have real feelings. It took me some time to figure out exactly what my problem with Ellis is: she goes along with everything anybody wants from her. She goes to America because of other people, starts night classes beacuse of other people, doesn’t seem very sure about dating Tony, but hey, he wants it, so why not, seems even less sure about marrying him but still does it, and so on and so on until finally at the end of the story she makes a decision on her own.
I enjoyed the movie, it had the same calm and peaceful feel that the book has. The actors did an amazing job, especially Saoirse Ronan. Of course the movie didn’t show the entire story, adaptations rarely do, but one the most interesting parts of the book to me was when the store Ellis works in becomes the first store to sell stockings to black women and the way characters react to that. I wonder why the movie skipped the racism parts of the story. Some things were better in the movie, for example the romance between Ellis and Tony was more believable and the dumb things that Ellis did when she went back home were toned down a bit.
BBC is developing a TV spin-off about the girls that live in the boarding house Ellis lived in. I really want to watch it, it could be great 🙂