Comments (32)Add a Comment
I can't say I enjoyed this book, because it's pretty dark. It explores the realm of mental illness, and it particular what it is like to love someone who is mentally ill. I am glad I stuck with it, however, to the end, even though the story is not tied up with a bow at the end. It's conclusion is like life: messy, but for that reason, it felt real.
Maureen Corrigan raved about Normal People on NPR, which is why I read it. That was a whole week out of my life that I'll never get back. The story stays at a low simmer which occasionally boils over. Not much happens in the contraction / expansion of the relationship, it gets repetitive. Marianne's a mess, but you never really get to know her. I was glad to finish reading this book.
Ugh this book feels like it was written by some kind of vaguely charming robot with an actually talented human being leaning in every 15 pages or so to lend a sentence with real integrity. It's like reading fan fiction written about two people you went to high school with but couldn't pick out in a police lineup. Often there is such little excitement happening that Rooney will start a scene mid-conversation just to falsely provide some drama until you understand the whole scene's context. I have frantically skimmed the rest of the book looking for the amazing ending I might miss, but I think it's just more of these two truly agonizingly normal people whose complexities reside more in the crinkle of their jackets than the tumult of their hearts.
Intense at times, this novel can be hard going.
I was relieved to be finished with it, in spite of its outstanding literary quality.
Two things made me angry about the book - the first is that neither character is especially great. Yes, Marianne has a terrible homelife and such, and Connell's family has to get over their privilege (or were they the poor ones? I don't even recall) but GET OVER YOURSELVES. The other pet peeve is the lack of quotation marks around dialogue. It's so exhausting to not have these in text. I wouldn't recommend this book unless you love literature with a capital L.
I loved the characters and found it to be a compelling read.
She was so damaged throughout her childhood by her own family that she continued to allow herself to be abused by later relationships. This made it hard for me to read at times.
He had his own issues which became more and more apparent.
Beautifully developed story of an unusual friendship and how they were able to save each other.
this book follows Mariane and Connell's friendship through their high school and college years, the ups and downs of their friendship, in and out of love. It's all about character development. If you read for the plot this book is not for you. But the characters are realistic, frustrating, ever striving to be "normal" whatever that means.
Please see Summary section for a full review of this book.
These characters are going to stay with me for a long time. Gorgeous.
DNF at page 125. tried to find a reason to continue and failed, though I didn't try too hard. there are too many new summer releases to stall on this one.
Many might find the two main characters self-absorbed, but overall, I was intrigued by their flawed and brooding awkwardness as they navigated friendships, family, and love interests throughout their teens and early twenties.
Honestly, I didn’t like this book very much. It is a commentary on who is normal. Is anyone? Are we all just acting as a mirror of what others expect of us? Unfortunately, I played this game a long time ago with myself until it drove me to the brink of madness and despair. I would not recommend this to any of my friends. Mostly I just wanted to throttle the characters and say “Get over yourself already.”
The appeal of this book comes from the well developed characters. We follow a couple throughout the years, starting from when they are in high school. They fall in and out of love and in and out of friendship several times over many years and we go along with them as they grow and change over time. This book has no compelling plot to speak of so if that is important to you, this won't be a good choice. But if character development is your thing, you should put this on hold right now. The characters are so fully formed and flawed and realistic and you will be pulling for them until the end. This is a great book for the right type of reader.
A few flashes of glorious observation, but the flattened tone and the wilfully non-aesthetic approach left me confused.
The young Irish writer Sally Rooney follows up her celebrated debut novel, "Conversations with Friends," with a story of Connell and Marianne, two millennials who meet in high school, go to college together in Dublin, and have a tumultuous on and off relationship. It's a deceptively simple story and perhaps self-consciously echoes the marriage plot of so many 19th century novels. I think criticisms of the protagonists "likability" or "narcissism" are entirely beside the point. They are complex, difficult people who struggle against the expectations of "normal people." As with "Conversations," Rooney's psychological understanding and insights are impressive. With only two novel, Rooney has become one of my favorite novelists, and I'll read anything she writes.
Sorry, folks, I didn’t like the book and I didn’t force myself to finish it. I couldn’t engage with the book at all. If the book is aimed at teenagers, it should be marked as such. It’s also weirdly written - sentences are short and abrupt, hence it reeds like a telegram. And yes, it’s boring. Alas, I didn’t enjoy neither the writing style nor the characters.
The prose is excellent, but readers looking for wide sweeping character arcs or redemption will be disappointed by the book's end.
I had a very hard time finishing this book even though it was only 273 pages. It was so boring. I kept pushing myself to finish it because the reviews were good. Should have given up at page 50.
I can understand why this book wouldn't appeal to everyone but I enjoyed reading it. The two main characters, Connell and Marianne, aren't necessarily likable but they do come across as real. I could relate to both of them as they were struggling with growing up and trying to figure out life. I could relate to Connell in being depressed and feeling like my life was going nowhere during college. And I related with Marianne in feeling the need to please other people in relationships even if the end result was unhealthy for me. If I was younger and still in those same situations I might not like this as much but now that I'm older it's an interesting book to read and relate to.
While some of the writing is beautiful in this book, I found neither of the main characters at all likeable. If this is the new "millennial" take on the world, it makes me unbearably sad as it is entirely narcissistic. Any referral to issues of social importance made by the characters is to show off their supposed brilliance, not to define how they are working to make changes. Not a inspiring commentary on the young people of today who will soon run our world.
Rooney crafts a compelling coming-of-age novel that's one of this years' standouts. Marianne and Connell, two Irish teens who grow up in the same town, connect and reconnect at university, despite class differences and relationship inexperience. Rooney's sincere, intimate writing shines.
In "Normal People" Rooney has a way of taking a typical coming of age story and bringing it close to the heart. The effect of relationships in high school and early adulthood can be complex and even formative - all influenced by socioeconomic, family connections, and peer stance. At one point the main character, Marianne says, "I don't know what's wrong with me...I don't know why I can't be like normal people." What is normal?