Normal People – Sally Rooney


At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, 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 – 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 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.

My review

Normal People is an interesting novel about the inner workings and relationship between Connell and Marianne.

Marianne, the unpopular girl at school who is bullied and sits by herself starts to talk to Connell, a popular boy at school. Connell’s mum cleans Marianne’s home once a week and the two start to talk. They are drawn to one another and their lives move in certain directions due to the influence they have upon oneanother. Marianne has low self esteem and her thoughts about herself are what we would hope is not the ‘norm’, yet we know that unfortunately teenagers and adults for that matter lack self confidence. This is however on a different level due to the abuse she has experienced. Connell goes through his own mental health issues and the two go through life with issues they learn to overcome. There are important issues raised in the novel and Sally Rooney raises them in such a way that we see varied perspectives on each issue.

It is questionable whether or not it is good for Connell and Marianne to overcome their issues together and whether they will continue to reconnect in each stage of their lives.

I was immediately drawn in by Sally Rooney’s writing. It is addictive.. I didn’t want to put it down. There is a lack of  punctuation and although this would usually annoy me it was the opposite here. I felt that it made for a quick read. Althought descriptive it is also straight to the point. The psychological impact upon the reader would differ. This is not just a romance, rather it looks at psychology and the inner workings of two minds that connect. I loved the book at the beginning, started to get a little frustrated and by the end was completely frustrated… I understand the ending, appreciate it, but I didn’t like it… I had hoped for further development in the characters’ mindset.

Overall, I am left wondering whether this book actually deserves the fifth star… here I am sitting down contemplating the novel and still thinking about it hours after finishing it. I also remember how annoyed the end of the book made me feel… to the point where I felt the story or characters weren’t progressing at the rate they did in the beginning. Normal People is a gripping story due to it’s psychological insight into the characters. It was worth the read and I would recommend it!


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