Normal People - Sally Rooney

Normal People

By Sally Rooney

  • Release Date: 2019-04-16
  • Genre: Fiction & Literature
Score: 4
4
From 2,812 Ratings

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Description

NOW AN EMMY-NOMINATED HULU ORIGINAL SERIES • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A stunning novel about the transformative power of relationships” (People) from the author of Conversations with Friends, “a master of the literary page-turner” (J. Courtney Sullivan).
 
ONE OF THE TEN BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE—Entertainment Weekly

TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—People, Slate, The New York Public Library, Harvard Crimson

AND BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York TimesThe New York Times Book Review, O: The Oprah Magazine, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, Vogue, Esquire, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire, Vox, The Paris Review, Good Housekeeping, Town & Country

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins.

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.

Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can’t.
 
Praise for Normal People
 
“[A] novel that demands to be read compulsively, in one sitting.”The Washington Post

“Arguably the buzziest novel of the season, Sally Rooney’s elegant sophomore effort . . . is a worthy successor to Conversations with Friends. Here, again, she unflinchingly explores class dynamics and young love with wit and nuance.”The Wall Street Journal

“[Rooney] has been hailed as the first great millennial novelist for her stories of love and late capitalism. . . . [She writes] some of the best dialogue I’ve read.”The New Yorker

Reviews

  • An easy read

    4
    By henrycupcake .3.
    This is going to be a polarizing book. I mean, I think I liked it. And I say "liked it" in the sense that it made me very miserable. It is a quiet character study, almost a YA novel but not quite, and it is a profoundly lonely and depressing love story. I didn't begin by liking it. Normal People follows two characters - Marianne and Connell - through adolescence and into early adulthood, and they begin by being the kind of uber-precocious teenagers who read Proust and Marx for fun. It took a while for me to settle into their story. My initial impression was that this was going to be some kind of John Green for adults, which is not something that floats my particular boat. Without fully realizing it though, this book had crept quietly under my skin. The relationship between Marianne and Connell is angsty, sure, but it felt painfully real. They are so flawed, marred by unlikable characteristics, and yet, I could not stop caring about them. Not for the first time Marianne thinks cruelty does not only hurt the victim, but the perpetrator also, and maybe more deeply and more permanently. You learn nothing very profound about yourself simply by being bullied; but by bullying someone else you learn something you can never forget. The story is really just about the two of them and their relationship. In high school, Marianne is a smart and wealthy girl, but is socially ostracized and emotionally abused at home, whereas Connell is working class, but very popular. Connell's mum works as a cleaner for Marianne's family. They begin a secret sexual relationship that falls apart when Connell fears his friends will find out. The compelling dynamic between them drives the story-- issues of class and social status cause much conflict. In college, the two meet again. This time, Marianne is popular, and Connell is feeling increasingly depressed. The two of them lean on each other time and again as they move through a social world filled with social expectations. There's a bit of a When Harry Met Sally vibe, except that this book is more soul-destroying. Nothing had meant more to Rob than the approval of others; to be thought well of, to be a person of status. He would have betrayed any confidence, any kindness, for the promise of social acceptance. There's clear criticism of our constant need to impress and perform for others in a world that grows ever more connected. Much of the tragedy that befalls Marianne and Connell is caused by other people, peer pressure and social expectations. It is very sad to think that someone might give up who they love the most because they can't deal with how it makes them look to others. The pair's inability to adequately communicate is frustrating but feels realistic. I was on the verge of tearing my hair out at all the things left unsaid in this book, but I think it was a good kind of frustration. The kind that comes from caring too much. I feel like there are any number of reasons I could have hated Normal People, but I didn’t. I actually kinda loved it. It's a weird, awkward, depressing novel about a connection formed between two very different people who find exactly what they need - and perhaps a lot that they don't - in each other. CW: sexual assault; domestic abuse; drug use; casual racism (called out); depression; anxiety; suicide & suicidal ideation.
  • What was the fuzz about

    1
    By Kbliki
    What a waste of time reading this book. Horrible ending, even worse than the book itself.
  • Great book

    5
    By terrience
    Thought I wouldn’t like it and then I couldn’t put it down
  • No thanks

    1
    By Roberts530
    I don’t understand why anyone would write a book without proper punctuation. It would have a good storyline, IF I could focus on the story instead of the atrocious lack of grammar. I couldn’t make it through the first chapter.
  • Boring and unimpressive

    1
    By Balogun.CT
    I kept waiting for the book to happen. What’s worse, I couldn’t connect with the perspective of any of the key characters. Marianne and Connell’s relationship seemed like a real waste and lacking in substance.
  • Good Read

    4
    By Necie South
    It was a good read. I enjoyed the book. It kept me anticipating something around the corner. I felt like some big secret was still hidden, but never revealed.
  • Vm km Kim n

    4
    By Lbateague
    M l min n inn by mom. nook Niko k no no k no
  • the ending is a bit upsetting

    5
    By AneeshaSartorius
    i finished the book in just two days i couldn’t put it down i enjoyed it much more than the show! just i would’ve expected the ending to be a bit more reassuring if you know what i mean. i like the book more in all just i enjoyed the ending in the tv series more. HOPEFULLY THERE WILL BE A SEASON 2
  • Totally Enrapturing, but Disappointing End

    3
    By heartisanite
    I have to give Rooney credit in that I read this all in one sitting and couldn’t put it down for a second. The way she writes the main characters makes you feel as though you’re learning some secret gossip about the popular kids at your school, and it is addicting the whole way through. My problem is that the ending of the book feels without conclusion. It almost seems like Marianne and Connell’s story concludes years and years down the line, leading us to some greater lesson about love and friendship that happens long after the last page. Perhaps the author wanted us to fill in the conclusion ourselves, or perhaps that is just the way intensely passionate relationships end sometimes, but either way, it’s unsatisfying.
  • Hard to put down

    4
    By DansReadingBooks
    Not one for love stories but this one showed the complexities that come with an relationship