Normal People

Normal People

A Novel

Book - 2018
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Publisher: New York : Hogarth, [2018]
Edition: First United States edition
ISBN: 9781984822178
1984822179
Branch Call Number: FICTION ROONEY SALLY
Characteristics: 273 pages ; 22 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

The unconventional secret childhood bond between a popular boy and a lonely, intensely private girl is tested by character reversals in their first year at a Dublin college that render one introspective and the other social, but self-destructive.


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k
krsbozo
Jul 17, 2019

I can't say I enjoyed this book, because it's pretty dark. It explores the realm of mental illness, and it particular what it is like to love someone who is mentally ill. I am glad I stuck with it, however, to the end, even though the story is not tied up with a bow at the end. It's conclusion is like life: messy, but for that reason, it felt real.

c
Calibro
Jul 16, 2019

Maureen Corrigan raved about Normal People on NPR, which is why I read it. That was a whole week out of my life that I'll never get back. The story stays at a low simmer which occasionally boils over. Not much happens in the contraction / expansion of the relationship, it gets repetitive. Marianne's a mess, but you never really get to know her. I was glad to finish reading this book.

JCLCassandraG Jul 11, 2019

Ugh this book feels like it was written by some kind of vaguely charming robot with an actually talented human being leaning in every 15 pages or so to lend a sentence with real integrity. It's like reading fan fiction written about two people you went to high school with but couldn't pick out in a police lineup. Often there is such little excitement happening that Rooney will start a scene mid-conversation just to falsely provide some drama until you understand the whole scene's context. I have frantically skimmed the rest of the book looking for the amazing ending I might miss, but I think it's just more of these two truly agonizingly normal people whose complexities reside more in the crinkle of their jackets than the tumult of their hearts.

t
toby65
Jul 10, 2019

Intense at times, this novel can be hard going.
I was relieved to be finished with it, in spite of its outstanding literary quality.

JessicaGma Jul 05, 2019

Two things made me angry about the book - the first is that neither character is especially great. Yes, Marianne has a terrible homelife and such, and Connell's family has to get over their privilege (or were they the poor ones? I don't even recall) but GET OVER YOURSELVES. The other pet peeve is the lack of quotation marks around dialogue. It's so exhausting to not have these in text. I wouldn't recommend this book unless you love literature with a capital L.

u
ulana2001
Jul 03, 2019

I loved the characters and found it to be a compelling read.
She was so damaged throughout her childhood by her own family that she continued to allow herself to be abused by later relationships. This made it hard for me to read at times.
He had his own issues which became more and more apparent.
Beautifully developed story of an unusual friendship and how they were able to save each other.

n
njon38
Jun 30, 2019

this book follows Mariane and Connell's friendship through their high school and college years, the ups and downs of their friendship, in and out of love. It's all about character development. If you read for the plot this book is not for you. But the characters are realistic, frustrating, ever striving to be "normal" whatever that means.

SPL_HEATHERL Jun 25, 2019

Please see Summary section for a full review of this book.

DPLjennyp Jun 24, 2019

These characters are going to stay with me for a long time. Gorgeous.

m
midori_hon
Jun 19, 2019

DNF at page 125. tried to find a reason to continue and failed, though I didn't try too hard. there are too many new summer releases to stall on this one.

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Summary

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SPL_HEATHERL Jun 25, 2019

Connell and Marianne attend the same high school in small town, present day
Ireland. On the surface they have nothing in common and probably wouldn't
have crossed paths outside school had it not been for the fact that
Connell's mother cleans house for Marianne's mother and Connell waits at the
house to take his mother home every day. So begins a friendship that is kept
hidden from their school friends because at school Connell is one of the
popular and confident kids, and Marianne is considered an awkward oddity,
having no friends, but really not caring either. Connell is embarrassed to
be seen at school with Marianne and Marianne seems to accept that they
shouldn't acknowledge each other.

Skip ahead a year, and the two are at university in Dublin. Marianne has
found her confidence and is popular and outgoing, while Connell can only
stand looking on from the sidelines uncertain with what to do with his life.
Despite the changes in their circumstances they are each supportive of the
other, and through numerous personal, sometimes destructive relationships,
they always eventually gravitate towards one another.

Normal People could be called a coming of age novel and the central
characters are young people, but it isn't necessarily a young adult novel. I
don't think Rooney is aiming to write for any particular generation because
what Connell and Marianne go through is applicable to most of us whatever
our ages. It's not quite a romance either, but it is a love story. It almost
defies categorization. Ultimately I think it's a novel about integrity and
doing the right thing for the person you love, all the while knowing that
your own life will likely be changed and diminished. It's a novel about pure
love, love that is capable of overcoming everything, including shame and
guilt.
Nominated for the Booker prize, Sally Rooney's writing is beautiful, and
each new chapter is a snapshot in the lives of two flawed but hopeful young
people.

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