Book Review: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan


My Rating: 💙💙 (It was OK)

Format: Paperback (Library Book)

Publisher: Corsair

Genres: Fiction

Synopsis/Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

The long-awaited novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Anna observes the uniformed servants, the lavishing of toys on the children, and some secret pact between her father and Dexter Styles.

Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career as a Ziegfield folly, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a night club, she chances to meet Styles, the man she visited with her father before he vanished, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have been murdered.

Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller and a wealth of detail about organized crime, the merchant marine and the clash of classes in New York, Egan’s first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a magnificent novel by one of the greatest writers of our time.”


My Review

I picked this book up from my local library. I was lucky enough to be the first one to borrow this book, so had a nice brand new unread copy.

I chose this book as I had heard lots about it and wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about. Personally, I felt a little disappointed with this book. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy reading in parts but to me it was an average read.

Firstly, let me tell you what I didn’t like about the book.

For me the characters were not very well developed and I felt like I didn’t really get to know  them enough through the story and therefore couldn’t really relate/connect with them. I found some of the characters personalities unbelievable therefore making it a bit hard for me to engage in the book fully.

Some parts of the book were just very slow and boring and I must admit I did skim past these parts. I have only every done that twice and the most recent was when I read “Annihilation”.  The book also jumps backwards and forwards in time and as you know from previous reviews this is one of my pet peeves in book, and because of this I kept getting lost as to what was happening and in what time period.

Now, I have got the negatives out of my head, here is what I enjoyed about the book.Egan seems to have done a lot of research and has paid a lot of attention to the historical details that she has used to write this book.

The book is well written in parts and there are some very interesting parts.

I know some people who have read this book absolutely loved it but for me it was OK, but I do say this if you haven’t already read it then it is worth trying as you never know you might enjoy it much more than me.


Has anyone else read this book? what did you think of it? leave a reply below, love to read your thoughts on the book too.

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