Normal People by Sally Rooney is a book that one hundred percent deserves all the hype! I read Conversations with Friends last year, and it was one of my favorite books of 2018. I couldn’t wait for this one to come out, and I preordered my copy from a local independent bookstore.
Normal People lived up to all my expectations and maybe even exceeded them. Sally Rooney has such a literary talent, and I love her writing style. Her characters are unique but–dare I say it–original. Set in Ireland, this novel captures the joy, anxieties and difficulties of college life perfectly.
This follows Marianne and Connell’s relationship over many years, beginning in the Irish equivalent of high school and continuing through the end of college or university. Marianne and Connell have an intense and complicated relationship that began in secret because Connell was popular in high school and Marianne was not. This dynamic shifted when they went to university, creating an undertone of shame, jealousy, and insecurity that they must continually grapple with.
A prevailing theme in Rooney’s writing is the role that miscommunication plays in relationships. She also frequently writes about how differences in social class, the presence of mental illness, and time abroad and apart affect and change relationships. It’s difficult to describe what happens in this book, because it’s kind of about everything. I love how Rooney writes about everyday life so simply but beautifully, and I loved, loved, loved these two quirky central characters.
I cannot wait until her next book!
VERDICT: 5 books