Normal People by Sally Rooney
A wondrous and wise coming-of-age love story from the celebrated author of Conversations with Friends
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her 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 at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And 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.
“Marianne answers the door when Connell rings the bell. She’s still wearing her school uniform, but she’s taken off the sweater, so it’s just the blouse and skirt, and she has no shoes on, only tights.”
Wow! I do not think I can accurately put in to words how special this books is. On the surface, the plot seems very simple, but there is so much depth and the story is more complex than it may first appear. It would have been so easy for the plot to lose it’s way, but it never does.
I could not put this book down. I finished it in two sittings, and when I wasn’t reading it it was always on my mind. Even now, a week after I finished it, I think about it often. Sally Rooney portrays such a honest and real relationship in a way that I do not think has ever quite been captured so perfectly before. Normal People is an interesting look at how someone can make you the best and worst version of yourself all at the same time. I appreciated that both of our main characters are flawed and imperfect. There is definitely character development, but not to the point where it is unrealistic or that they lose her they truly are.
Normal People is unique in that it is about a relationship, and I would say it is a love story, but it is not romantic. There are romantic moments, but it is not all sunshine and rainbows. It is so honest and raw. I think many of us will see parts of ourselves in these characters.
Normal People is also a commentary on race, class, and socioeconomic status. It is also a real look at the confusing transition from high school to university. There are a lot of subtle and meaningful themes throughout the novel.
Wholeheartedly YES! If you enjoy flawed characters who you still root for this is the book for you. Just know going in that there are triggers for abuse, suicide and suicidal thoughts, and depression.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy of Normal People in exchange for an honest review.
28 thoughts on “Women’s Prize Review- Normal People”
great review 💚
Great review! I was blown away by this book as well.
Thanks! I had only heard good things about it but was still taken back by just how good it was.
This sounds like a really good book to read! Would you say that the suicidal thoughts are very high? Just curious as am worried it might trigger me a bit much.
It’s really great. A character commits suicide (off the page) which leads to some suicidal thoughts in one of the main characters. It’s very brief and we don’t find out about it until he is seeking help from a therapist. I hope that helps!
Thank you! I appreciate the heads up! 😄
Fab review, I will add this to my wishlist – Thank you for the recommendation.
Awesome! I hope you enjoy it!
I must say I’m very curious about this one and now even more! I love flawed characters who make you still root for them Haha
Have a nice weekend!
Then you’ll so love this one. She really pulls it off!
I’m looking forwards to it ♥
Oh dear, everyone loves this book apart from me! Nice review 🙂
I read some negative reviews and saw se valid points. I could see how it would not be loved by everyone!
So glad you loved this!!! Rooney is such a talent.
She really is. I’ll probably read anything she writes now.
Wonderful review! I have this one on my TBR for the month, I really look forward to reading it 😊
Thank you. I can not wait to see what you think of it!
Great review! I wasn’t crazy about Conversations With Friends but I might give this one a try because I do think she is a good writer! 😊
Oh good to know. I definitely haven’t heard as much about Conversations with Friends as I did with Normal People. I’ll go in to it with lower expectations.
Glad to see that this builds on the themes Rooney began exploring in Conversations with Friends – really excited to read this later in the month. Excellent review!
Interesting! I actually know nothing about Conversations with Friends so I’m curious to get in to it. I hope you enjoy this one!
I just got the audiobook for review! Wonderful that you loved it💜
Oh, awesome. I am curious about the audiobook!
Oooh, this has been recommended to me before – but after this review, I *really* want to read it! Thanks so much for the review 🙂
Yay! I can’t wait to see what you think!
I’m glad you loved this one! Normal People is one of my favorites on the Women’s Prize list, and Sally Rooney is fast becoming a favorite author. I loved how understated and brilliant this story is.
I completely agree with you. I will be so disappointed if it’s not shortlisted. Everything about it just worked.