Normal People, Sally Rooney (10/10)

A teenage love story that covers trauma, mental health, insecurities, class hierarchies, romance and the complexities of family and friendship

Normal People, Sally Rooney (10/10)

Rating: 10/10
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⛰ What It's About

It's about the friendship and love between two teenagers - Connell and Marianne - who grow up a small town in Ireland. They're polar opposites - popular/unpopular, poor/rich, etc. but share a hard-to-define intellectual and romantic connection.

Their bond grows while at school into a deep romantic love affair which they conceal from everyone else. Eventually, they attend the same university - where they're constantly breaking up and being drawn back together - reminiscent of Ross and Rachel from friends.

🔍 How I Discovered It

My cousin Emilia recommended it to me and offer me the paperback copy to read.

🧠 Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading this book - it was light, entertaining and easy to read. It covers and captures a lot of topics that are hard to explore and tangibly define - love, romance, family, and friendship. I resonated strongly with plenty of the experiences the characters go through while growing up at school and university, and the writing sometimes reminded me of Haruki Murakami's Norwegian wood in terms of the soulful, lonely feeling it illicits.

🥰 Who Would Like It?

I'd recommend this book to most young adults - it's intimate and entertaining, while also exploring a tonne of things that we're all battling to understand about ourselves - love, trauma, mental health, insecurities, class hierarchies, romance, the complexities of family and friendship - all written with a very modern and refreshed teenage narrative. An interesting insight into the human experience in a way that I appreciated.

💬 Favourite Quotes

  • How strange to feel herself so completely under the control of another person, but also how ordinary. No one can be independent of other people completely, so why not give up the attempt, she thought, go running in the other direction, depend on people for everything, allow them to depend on you, why not.
  • Her eyes fill up with tears again and she closes them. Even in memory she will find this moment unbearably intense, and she's aware of this now, while it's happening. She has never believed herself fit to be loved by any person. But now she has a new life, of which this is the first moment, and even after many years have passed she will still think: Yes, that was it, the beginning of my life.
  • Marianne had the sense that her real life was happening somewhere very far away, happening without her, and she didn't know if she would ever find out where it was or become part of it.