Today I have a review of Normal People by Sally Rooney publishing on April 16, 2019 via Crown Publishing and Hogarth Books!
I always fall for coming-of-age stories. There’s something so relatable to the tumultuous times, the unsettling feelings we’ve all experienced, and hopefully that feeling of contentment that comes when we reach a point beyond the hardest parts.
Connell and Marianne are teens attending the same school and appear they don’t know each other, but they do. Connell’s mom works at Marianne’s house. The two could not be more different. Connell is a popular athlete, while Marianne is a loner.
The following year they are attending Trinity College. This time around, Marianne is the social one, and Connell has become shy and uncomfortable in his new social surroundings.
Connell and Marianne begin a dance. They drift apart and circle around each other, but often are brought right back together. At one point, each are veering off-path, and they have to decide if it’s worth coming together to save the other.
The writing here is my favorite, spare and intentional. There’s so much to analyze in the class differences, first loves, friendship and family dynamics explored here with nuanced skill.
Overall, this story took me so many places emotionally. I have to admit I was a bit spent by the end, but I think that illustrates how invested I was. The biggest messages are centered around being young and in love, and this is executed so well, with so much tenderness and care, so smart, that I fell in love with these characters and their story. I was enraptured and engrossed.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
A wondrous and wise coming-of-age love story from the celebrated author of Conversations with Friends
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one 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 at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And 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.
*Note: this picture includes a previous version of the US cover.
Have you read Normal People, or is it on your TBR? Have you read Conversations with Friends? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR