Book Reviews Write Tribe Reading Challenge

Book Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney

book review normal people by sally rooney

Connell and Marianne go to the same school in a small town in the west of Ireland. While Marianne is an outcast, Connell is popular. While Marianne is wealthy, Connell’s mother is their cleaner. Their worlds might be separate but they connect over a conversation which is initially awkward but somehow, electrifying. And thus starts something life-changing for both of them.

Normal People follows Marianne and Connell from their late teens to the young adult lives. The story explores their friendship, love, and complicated relationship with one another and their connections with the world. It gives us an insight into their complex individual lives but also their complex relationship – they try to stay apart but find they cannot do so. It explores issues of politics, mental health, domestic violence through the eyes of these two individuals. It shows us how sometimes, no matter how hard we try, our past will play a part in our present. Most of all, it shows us the conversations we have and don’t have, the assumptions we make, and the lives we lead. It reveals to us in an exquisitely beautiful and heartbreaking manner, our desire to love and be loved, our desire to hurt and be hurt and what contributes to all this. It asks the biggest question – what is it to be normal? What is a normal relationship? Who decides what is normal? And what exactly is normal in this messed up world we live in?

I loved this book so much! It’s hard to do it justice through a review without revealing every single detail. The relationship between Marianne and Connell is tender and heartbreaking and beautiful all in one. Both the characters are developed in the most fascinating way. They appealed to the psychologist in me but also, the flawed and imperfect me. I have had my share of messy relationships and their relationship spoke to me on so many levels. There were several sections in the book about both characters that hit a bit too close to home. It was one of those books I found hard to put down and only reluctantly did so because I had to sleep and work. The prose is lyrical and exquisite. Rooney writes simple and beautiful sentences that transport you to a different place. I love how she slowly builds the tension and as a reader, you find yourself holding your breath and wishing nothing hurts the characters.

The following is just a small excerpt that broke me:

After a time he hears her say something he can’t make out. I didn’t hear that, he says.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, says Marianne. I don’t know why I can’t be like normal people.

Her voice sounds oddly cool and distant, like a recording of her voice played after she herself has gone away or departed for somewhere else.

In what way? he says.

I don’t know why I can’t make people love me. I think there was something wrong with me when I was born.

It’s definitely one of my top five reads of all time and one that broke me and fixed me and broke me. And I think I have found a new author to love. She writes the type of books I’d love to write. Except, I don’t have her voice or skill.

My rating:

Where to find the book:

Amazon | Book Depository | Booktopia | Kindle

Where to find the author:

Website | Instagram | Facebook |

***Linking this review with Write Tribe for the 2019 Write Tribe Reading Challenge and Tulika for Book Bytes***

Until next time,

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  • Obsessivemom
    4 April 2019 at 10:33 pm

    It sounds beautiful and so very sad. How heartbreaking it is for a person to think this of herself! Seems like a wonderful book.
    Thanks for linking up.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Me first? #BookBytes – 5My Profile

  • Anthea
    4 April 2019 at 10:50 pm

    This books sounds so good – adding to my TBR list right now. That quote is quite heartbreaking.

    Are you on Goodreads? I joined last year and just love to see what bloggers are reading and what they recommend.
    Anthea recently posted…March 2019 recap – what is new with you? Link upMy Profile

  • Anthea
    4 April 2019 at 10:52 pm

    Sorry – just saw your reading challenge now! Will send you a request on Goodreads 🙂
    Anthea recently posted…March 2019 recap – what is new with you? Link upMy Profile

  • Shalzmojo
    5 April 2019 at 1:58 pm

    ANother terrific review and book recco Sanch- marked it down for a buy though when not sure as I have the no book buying pact on!

    Reminds me of Eleanor and Park a bit – I loved reading that modern telling of Romeo Juliet a lot! Have you read it?

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      8 April 2019 at 8:28 pm

      I have read Eleanor and Park – it was a sweet book. Normal People though blew me away

  • Parul
    7 April 2019 at 11:28 pm

    Sounds like a good one an one that will make me reflect too. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll mark it to read.
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