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Book Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney

Reviewed by Chantelle Grant

Normal People was a decent fiction for a weekend binge. The author, Sally Rooney is the winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award for her debut novel Conversations with Friends.

Set in Ireland in the County of Sligo, Normal People is about two high school kids and their overly complicated and difficult ‘relationship’…if you want to call it that. Connell and Marianne could not be more opposite (and you know what they say…opposites attract). Connell is popular, an athlete and has an impressive iQ, while Marianne is noted to be the least popular student, painfully quiet but has an equally – almost intimating intellect level.

Connell’s mother happens to be employed by Marianne’s mother and their secret love affair starts in Marianne’s home. They keep the relationship private and pretend like they don’t know each other at school. Not surprisingly, Connell breaks Marianne’s heart and there is no communication during the summer of their final year.

They both end up venturing to Trinity College Dublin where the roles reverse. Marianne blossoms into a beautiful popular goddess, while Connell struggles for the first time to find himself. They end up at the same party one night, and thus begins their complicated, comical and often sad need for each other. The duo is sickly intertwined throughout each other’s lives at university never fully committing to a steady and healthy relationship. The story really is about the intense attachment that stems from their traumas and insecurities that both make them who they are. Not much different than anyone in real life who hasn’t dealt with trauma and tries to make a relationship work in their early 20’s. LOL!

A bit of romance, tragedy, a hint of 50 Shades of Grey make this an easy, weekend getaway read.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5