“Life offers up these moments of joy despite everything,”
Title: Normal People
Author: Sally Rooney
Page Count: 273 pages
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Faber & Faber, an imprint of Penguin HarperCollins
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Buy It: Chapters Indigo
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.
Whenever I finish a book I tend to stop and think of one word to describe it. For Normal People that word would be tender. The characters were tender, the storyline tender and the overall feel of the book was tender. love those coming of age stories where you’re pulled into this dark unsettling world of adolescence seeped in academia. Often times I find books where the main environment is academic there’s something pretentious about the characters or the plot but not with Rooney’s story. Here you will find a book that will stay with you because of how lonely it will make you feel and a book you’ll devour in one sitting because of how beautiful it is.
The mental health depiction in this one was raw and complicated just as mental health is. There’s a quiet simmer beneath Marianne where she experiences many shades of abuse from physical to mental. Conall on the other hand is a character who seems to have it all in terms of friends, popularity and more. However his upbringing by his single mother affects him more than he realizes and ultimately develops his own mental health problems. Rooney explores mental health tenderly but with a lot of conviction.
I loved reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. Some people will have thoughts about the ending and may be unsatisfied but it ended how it should have in my opinon. It will definitely hit my top 3 of 2020. It’s only February and I know it’ll still be there at the end of the year because of how wonderful it was. This is one of those off beat odd books that will leave you feeling a bit unsettled but also happy you read it.