Reader's Rights

Sometimes the Movie is Better

Don’t believe me?  Here are a few examples c4211b771687ff9e0551b94715fea691

I know it isn’t a popular thing to say but sometimes the movie is better than the book.  At least in some aspect.  Maybe it’s the kind of story that benefits from the visual aid.  Think Jurassic Park where we actually got to see (and hear) the dinosaurs!
Or maybe the movie streamlined a plot that at times can be plodding (we’ve all read those).  Or, as is the case with Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn, the movie gives one a better sense of the characters.

In intentionally ready Brooklyn before watching the Oscar-nominated film version expecting to fall completely in love with both.  The book, however, kept me at a distance.  As I wrote in my review, I felt like a spectator watching Eilis’s life like a bird high above only mildly interested in the events going on below.  The movie and Saoirse Ronan’s captivating performance brought me into the story.  Into her life.  I won’t say that all of the changes made to the story for the film adaptation were for the better but feeling a connection with Eilis made it more enjoyable than the book.


Review: Brooklyn

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn is the simple story of a young Irish woman struggling to come of age after a major life change is more or less forced on her. It is believable and the characters are recognizable. Unfortunately, the third person narrative felt like watching the whole thing from above and at a great distance. It was entertaining at times but I never felt like I really got to know the main characters. Eilis’s character seemed to shift from scene to scene. It wasn’t like she grew as a person only adapted to any given situation (and not always well). I never really got a hold of who she was. So I didn’t really care about what happened to her. Or any of the characters.
What Toibin did well was paint the scene. I could picture perfectly every setting from the small Irish town to the streets of Brooklyn to the beach of Coney Island to the horrible ship journey. But that’s all the book was a rather two-dimensional look at Eilis’s coming of age.

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