Book review: Normal People by Sally Rooney
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
I was excited about this book before I’d even started reading it because I’d got it from the library and I was over the moon with myself that i got my hands on it for free. This was also one of those books I’d seen in ‘best-seller’ lists for months now, but as I’ve said before, I’m always a bit sceptical of them as a factor in me picking up a book. However, slowly more and more people started saying it would be a book I would love and guess what? I LOVED IT. This is a book that actually lives up to the hype.
The story is based around two people, Marianne and Connell, who know each other from childhood. I don’t want to say much else about the plot because that’s not really the point of the book, but they have an intense and special connection and you watch they grow into adults.
The strange and wonderful thing about this book is that for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on, I couldn’t put this book down. At work, I could feel the book burning a hole in my backpack next to my desk and I was itching to read it all weekend. In fact, I finished it in 3 days. Lots of people I’ve spoken to have said they felt the exact same way- one of my friends finished it in 3 hours! So what is the allure of this book?
One of the things I can pinpoint is the way Rooney depicts love. She never wastes her time with overused cliches, instead she describes minute details that can only be picked up by someone who is in love, like the way someone makes a cup of tea or grips the steering wheel instead of saying what’s on their mind. Sometimes (arrogantly, I’ll admit) I put down a book and I think ‘I could’ve written that’ but this time, I put the book down and knew I could never create something as beautiful as this book. (Don’t worry, that’s said in an inspiring way, not in a defeatist way.)
I almost don’t want to say much more about the book, so you can enjoy it just as I did without much knowledge of what it was about. I should also probably say I’m a massive fan of a story with a romance at the centre, so if that isn’t your thing and you read it thinking wtf was I gushing about, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Read this if: You want to read a really accurate depiction of relationships and love, and how sometimes life is bigger than love. A welcome portrayal from Hollywood depictions of love.
Favourite bit: There wasn’t a need to create drama for the sake of it.
Any parts I didn’t like? My favourite part was the story during the school years, so I was yearning for that part again for most of the book.
Stars out of 5: 5 stars- my first 5 stars!!