Normal People

Sally Rooney

I’ll start this review by saying that I know I am very behind the times with this book, having not read it about a year or two ago when it first came to the forefront of the book world, but better later than never is a saying for a reason and it is definitely the case here. With the BBC adaptation coming out I decided to finally read Rooney’s normal people before watching it and I am thrilled that I did.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the interplay of the two perspectives. The shifts between Marianne and Connell are not balanced, alternating chapters, which is very interesting to read, primarily because it means we often get both their interpretations of the same events. I found this particularly interesting when Connell ends things with Marianne towards the end of sixth form and how we find out about it from Marianne’s perspective, adding to how abrupt it seems and how little clarity there is over why he chose to do it.

The way in which Rooney is able to convey the nuance and subtlety behind Connell and Marianne’s actions is truly impressive writing. The balance she strikes between concrete words and actions and what goes left unsaid is beautifully struck in a a way that gives just enough insight into the characters of Connell and Marianne but still leaves an air of mystery around their relationship that shows even their limited understanding of their feelings for one another.

This subtlety gave me an appreciation for the notion of love as something to desire and experience rather than something to achieve that runs throughout the novel. The love between Marianne and Connell is never addressed as being long term, it is very much just what they’re experiencing at the time.

I will say, however, that I’m unsure whether or not I like this book but that maybe that’s the point. I think this is a brilliant novel but I can’t claim to have loved it or that it is a favourite of mine. However, I think it is one of the most intelligently written novels I’ve come across that provides an intriguing perspective on love and relationships between young people.

Keep an eye out for my upcoming review of the BBC adaptation or click follow to receive email alerts.

April 2020 Round Up

The one upside to being in lockdown, if there even is one, is that I’ve had plenty of time to read this month.

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

  • Author: Cho Nam-Joo
  • Publisher: 14th October 2016, Minumsa
  • Summary: The novel depicts the everyday sexism experienced by Kim Jiyoung from being a young girl to becoming a housewife and stay-at-home mother.
  • Rating: 5/5

Girl, Woman, Other

  • Author: Bernardine Evaristo
  • Publisher: 1998, Vintage
  • Summary: Follows the lives of twelve different characters, most of whom are women, most of whom are people of colour.
  • Rating: 5/5

Queenie

  • Author: Candice Carty-Williams
  • Publisher: 19th March 2019, Orion Publishing
  • Summary: Queenie Jenkins is a young Jamaican British woman living in London and trying to cope after a messy break up with her long-term white boyfriend.
  • Rating: 4/5

The Night Circus

  • Author: Erin Morgenstern
  • Publisher:2012, Vintage
  • Summary: The Night Circus arrives without any warning and disappears as though it was never there to begin with. Visitors marvel at the wonders inside but they know little of the true secrets of the circus.
  • Rating: 5/5

Normal People (Novel)

  • Author: Sally Rooney
  • Publisher: August 2018, Faber and Faber
  • Summary: Marianne and Connell try to maintain their relationship in the face of class differences whilst transition from high school to university.
  • Rating: 4/5

Normal People (BBC TV Adaptation)

  • Network: BBC One
  • Original Novel: Normal People by Sally Rooney
  • Synopsis: See above summary.
  • Rating: 4/5

Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams

  • Author: Matthew Walker
  • Publisher: 3rd October 2017, Penguin Random House
  • Summary: A popular science book about the science behind why we sleep.
  • Rating: 3/5

Thanks for reading, keep an eye out for my reviews of Normal People and The Night Circus over the next week, or follow the blog to receive email alerts!