Author: Sally Rooney
Published: April 16, 2019
Where I picked up my book: Book of the Month choice!
Key Words: growing up, Irish life, intricacies of relationships and family
My Rating: 4
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.
A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.
First, I will say when I finished this book, I enjoyed it. I didn’t rave or cry when I read the last sentence, but I gave it a solid 3 stars. As soon as I finished the book I thought, ‘huh…I wonder what all the fuss is about. That didn’t blow me out of the water or anything.’ And then I gave it a few days to ruminate and I literally haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I’m still constantly thinking about Marianne and Connell (the main characters) and wondering how they are doing. I’m still reeling about things that went on in the book and wondering why these characters made some choices that they made. I’m still thinking about how class plays a role in my life, and my friends lives, on a daily basis and if we act according to our class. I literally can’t get these characters, or their story, out of my head. Because of all of this-I’m definitely bumping my rating up to a 4. So fair warning…keep this in mind when you read Normal People.
Second, Sally Rooney’s writing is amazing. This is the first Rooney book that I’ve read, but if they are all as well-thought out, intimate, and descriptive with well constructed characters and plot and scenery-I will read all of the Rooney books that make their way into this world.
Third, I just LOVE how flawed and real the characters in this book are. I’m telling you, they are almost so real to me, that I’m having trouble not worrying about them as I write this review. Both of the main characters are broken, misunderstood, often confused by themselves and the world around them. You will root for them, get angry at them, cry with them, wonder with them, and ultimately…fall in love with them. Again, all of this to say…Rooney’s writing is that good.
Fourth, this book takes all of our lives, all of our questions, all of our insecurities and achievements and puts them into this book. Through these characters, we learn a little bit more about the world around us and ultimately, ourselves. I would highly recommend giving this book a read! It might take you a minute to appreciate it, but once you do…I think you’ll be a better person for having read it.