Author: Sally Rooney
Published by: Hogarth on April 16, 2019
Genres: General Fiction
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: Penguin Random House Canada
Book Rating: 8/10
Connell Waldron is one of the most popular boys in his small-town high school–he is a star of the football team, an excellent student, and never wanting for attention from girls. The one thing he doesn’t have is money. Marianne Sheridan, a classmate of Connell’s, has the opposite problem. Marianne is plain-looking, odd, and stubborn, and while her family is well-off, she has no friends to speak of. There is, however, a deep and undeniable connection between the two teenagers, one that develops into a secret relationship.
Everything changes when both Connell and Marianne are accepted to Trinity College. Suddenly Marianne is well-liked and elegant, holding court with her intellectual friends while Connell hangs at the sidelines, not quite as fluent in language of the elite. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle each other, falling in and out of romance but never straying far from where they started. And as Marianne experiments with an increasingly dangerous string of boyfriends, Connell must decide how far he is willing to go to save his oldest friend.
Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a novel that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the inescapable challenges of family and friendships. Normal People is a book that you will read in one sitting, and then immediately share with your friends.
Fresh, intense, and intimate!
Normal People is a character-driven, classic, coming-of-age story involving the clever, wealthy Marianne and the intelligent, working-class Connell as they embark on an enduring love affair littered with misunderstandings, betrayals, overreactions, and, ultimately, broken hearts.
The prose is evocative and controlled. The characters, including the damaged, lonely protagonists, are young, innocent, and vulnerable. And the tightly crafted, witty plot unfolds chronologically seamlessly unravelling all the motivations, actions, personalities, desires, needs, and complex relationships within it.
Overall, Normal People is a sensitive, adept, passionate tale that does a remarkable job of highlighting all the universal struggles of growing up, acquiring self-confidence, forging friendships, experiencing love and lust for the first time, and feeling entitled to be loved.
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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.