Normal People by Sally Rooney Review

So this show has become big recently, but obviously as a book reader I have to read the book first. So let’s see what I think of it.

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.

Taken from goodreads

From the off this is not the usual type of book I read, mainly because the two main characters are somewhat normal. However, I think that is a great thing as it allows you as the reader to be able to connect more with the characters as you might find yourself in somewhat similar situations as the characters. Of course, the opposite might be true where you don’t see yourself in any of the main characters but at the same time I think you will find it hard not to almost instantly start to like them.

The main premise of the story is the life of two teenagers who are trying to find themselves in this big dangerous world but at the same time one of them is an outcast at school, while the other one is popular. This means that any relationship that they might have shouldn’t happen due to them being on the different end of school popularity. However as they have grown up and went to the same college they get to see how life is going to be when they don’t have to stick to the social norms that school pressurised. 

You also will read a lot about mental health with both of the main characters going through something. Sally Rooney does a great job in describing what the mental health conditions are like for some people and what they can drive some people to do. If anything, I think the people who read this book are more likely to try and talk to someone about what they are struggling through. 

This is not a romance normal, not really. Yes the two main characters are circling around each other just about every step of the way, but at the same time it is the other relationships that the two characters have that actually define the story and helps them grow more as people. There really isn’t that much of a plot going on, but in real life is there? This is just a book about two people who are trying to figure out life, while at the same time themselves.

I do need to wonder why Sally Rooney seems to have forgotten that speech marks exist. I did find it confusing at first at what points where being actually spoken out loud or where just a monologue from the mind of the characters. However, by the midway point I sort of caught on.

For me this is the marmite of books, by this I mean that you are either going to connect with the characters and start wondering on how their lives are going to turn out, or you aren’t going to be able to relate at all, and start wondering why you are still reading. For me this is the first time I have not wanted to finish a book in order to prologue its read as I was enjoying the story that much.

Sally does a great job in the writing and the descriptions of mental health that the read becomes super easy and enjoyable. I do recommend this to everyone but I dont think everyone is going to enjoy it.

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