I will hold my hands up and admit that I had been avoiding reading this book for a very long time. I had heard mixed reviews about Sally Rooney and after picking up her other most well-known book Conversations with Friends in Waterstones, I put it down 20 pages later as I simply didn’t enjoy her writing style. But after attaining this book in a book swap that I was doing with my friend, I knew that it was time to bite the bullet. And so I began.
Normal People by Sally Rooney is what you would call your typical book club read. It’s highly emotive, and a good conversation starter. Longlisted for the Man Book Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, it eventually ended up winning the Waterstones Book of the Year in 2018. For me, the jury is still out on whether or not I like it. Though I don’t usually use rating systems on my blog for books, I feel like there is no other way to explain what I thought of this without using a numerical value; 7/10. Admittedly, like everyone else, I found this book impossible to put down. The constant battle between the two main characters made for a riveting piece – one that I finished in about 4 hours. The ending wasn’t predictable, but it was somewhat disappointing. After the emotional rollercoaster that Rooney takes you on, I was expecting to find out what happened between the characters. Instead, it’s vague and unsatisfying. I will admit to getting emotionally invested with the main characters Connell and Marianne, but their constant back and forth got quite frustrating.
Without giving away spoilers, the book is about a topic that I think everyone can either relate to having lived or have experience through similar situations through friends and family. Boy and girl fall in love, and then because of extenuating circumstances, they cannot ride off into the sunset before first experiencing a whole hoard of problems. It’s an easy read as Rooney uses simple sentences and a plot that is straightforward and not convoluted.
Overall, I suggest reading Normal People if you’re looking for an easy read or just want to see what the fuss is all about. Usually, in most of my blog posts, I try and link the book to an external topic, to give it a bit more human relevance or pazazz. This book doesn’t need that, as it’s a book to enjoy reading rather than learn something from. However, a lesson to take from it is to simply pursue wholeheartedly the person you like. It might end in heartbreak, or it might end in love. You never know unless you try.
Until next time,