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Book Review: Normal People - A book by Sally Rooney

Book Review: Normal People – A book by Sally Rooney

Book Title: Normal People

Author: Sally Rooney

Blurb: Connell, and Marianne grow up in the same small town in the west of Ireland, but the similarities end there. In 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.   is a 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 they can’t. 


In this book, Sally Rooney tells the story of two deeply damaged people who develop an intense relationship that transcends the norms. At school, Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, the star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers, of a kind that only they are determined to conceal.

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 in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, 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
Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.

It might take you a bit to settle with the story and its dynamics. It is a profound love story but it also has layers where things get too dark and twisted for it to appear realistic. If dark academia is your genre then it is a must-read book for you. Marianne and Connell, the central characters of this book, go through adolescence and into early adulthood, and they begin their journey by being the kind of uber-precocious teenagers who read Proust and Marx for fun.

Without fully realizing it though, this book will creep quietly under the reader’s 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, you will not stop caring about them.
Sally Rooney writes with such precision that the emotions expressed in the story feel painfully true. She conjures tension and emotion in every scene miraculously. She conveys the full weight of feeling from a look or a shrug. In Rooney’s imagination, Connell and Marianne as separate entities are less important than the interplay between them – their relationship dynamic and the influence each of them has on shaping the other, that’s the real stuff of this book.

So, if you’re looking forward to reading something dark but also real, something hurtful but also filled with deep love and charged with emotions, then this book will fulfill your desire for reading a book of that kind. This book will prove to you why Sally Rooney has become a worldwide literary phenomenon.


LitGleam’s Rating: 4.5/5

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