I peruse Amazon on a pretty regular basis for new books. I keep a queue on my Kindle and I have a small box of paper books, much to the annoyance of my
roommate mother. sorry, ma. #dealwithit I found Brooklyn on Amazon a while ago. The synopsis seemed OK, but I knew I would need to be in a certain frame of mind to read it. I usually read frothy chick lit. I’d apologize, but nah.
Anyway, Brooklyn had been on my radar for a while when I saw the trailer for the movie. I was immediately intrigued. New York/Brooklyn in the 1950’s? Sign me up!
Knowing that books are notoriously better than their movie counterparts, I dived in, book first. The book is being praised left, right and center so I was excited to start. I usually give a book a little time to get started. Brooklyn took over 100 pages. The whole book is 288. So, yea. I wasn’t expecting swordfights or explosions, but I could have heard less about Eilis’ sea sickness and more about her acclimating to city life or something.
As I was reading I kept thinking about the trailer. “Where’s the guy? I know she meets a guy. When is the love story going to start?” I told you, I’m a lover of chick lit. Romance is in my blood. Tony, the Italian, finally showed up and it was almost unnoticeable, like most of the major events in the book. I thought that him being an Italian who snuck into an Irish dance because he liked Irish girls there would be more of an issue. Back then, from what I’m to understand, the Italians and the Irish in America weren’t the best of friends. Even when Eilis brought Tony to the boarding house, maybe the other girls raised an eyebrow, but nobody said a word to her. Unrelated to the love story, there was an unexpected event that caught me so off guard that I had to read it twice to make sure it actually happened.
I finished the book and was happy with the ending but I still felt a little let down. I felt gipped because I, quite frankly didn’t get enough Tony. The book was a hurry up and wait kind of thing for me. I found myself waiting for something to happen, getting to that moment, savoring it and having to start all over again.
After I finished the book, I went to Redbox and rented the movie. I watched it with my mom because she had read the book also. Right off the bat, things were awry. They opened the movie with Eilis getting ready to make the trip to America. They never mentioned that it was her sister who secured her place on the boat, a job when she got here and a place to stay through her friend, a priest from their County. It’s important because they had a close relationship and it was hard for Eilis to leave her sister and her mother behind. There’s more that wasn’t right, like how they left out Eilis’ brothers completely as well as the Bartocci’s and only included a little bit of Miss Fortini. The scenes that I was obviously waiting for were the ones that involved Tony (and his family). They didn’t disappoint. There just wasn’t enough of them, in the book or the movie.
I think I’ve gone a bit off the rails here and I’m not entirely sure how to get back. Bottom line is this: Brooklyn is one of those rare book to movie adaptations where the movie is the better option. So, see the movie and skip the book. Or skip the movie and read the book; it’s your life. And, where can I find myself a Tony Fiorello?
Did you see/read Brooklyn? What did you think?