Normal People

Normal People

Book - 2018
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The feverishly anticipated second novel from the young author of 2017's most acclaimed debut Conversations with Friends. Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person's life - a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us - blazingly - about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney's second novel breathes fiction with new life.
Publisher: London :, Faber & Faber,, 2018.
Copyright Date: ©2018.
ISBN: 9780571334650
9780571334643
9780571347292
Characteristics: 266 pages ; 23 cm.

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m
maggiepcurtis
Jul 06, 2020

Being adapted for Hulu

e
ellenorndorf
Jun 06, 2020

Lauren Craft passed this along to me. Its about two people who's lives intersect. They support one another at difficult times. I enjoyed it very much. It was a COVID-19 read.

p
Pol1916HL
May 24, 2020

Highly recommended by John Doyle, The Globe & Mail

a
arfnmeo
May 20, 2020

I couldn’t get past the first chapter due to the lack of quotation marks. It was difficult trying to figure out who was talking at any given time or whether a character was thinking something in their head versus saying it aloud. I never fully appreciated quotation marks until now! The author’s decision to make this stylistic choice was a poor one.

l
lpreston214
May 14, 2020

I wouldn't usually even pickup up a "relationship" book but I'd heard some buzz. So glad I read it. Marianne and Connell are two brilliant young people trying to figure out how they fit in the world. As they move through high school and college the only constant in their lives is each other--neither one a "normal" person. By the end of the book I think they've grown and seemed to be near the conclusion most of us eventually reach: normality is a myth. Everyone and no one is normal. Brilliant writing with some very memorable passages.

l
Llaureys66
Apr 29, 2020

Normal People is a well written book. Although I found Connell and Marianne's back and forth relationship frustrating, I realize that was the point of the story. I probably would of connected with the story better if I would of read it in my twenties.

g
Geeky77
Apr 15, 2020

I like to listen to audio books as I clean the house. I’m so glad I listened to this book because if I were to have read it I wouldn’t have finished.

r
rlbeekman
Apr 14, 2020

A disappointment after Rooney's absorbing debut novel, Conversations with Friends. This second book still shows Rooney's remarkable prose style, confident and straightforward, and also her attention to the psychological and behavioral nuances of social interactions. However, she uses some narrative strategies that inadequately support -- sometimes even undercut -- the book's explicit explanations and judgments about the on-again/off-again affair of the two young main characters. The chapters of the story are episodes of interaction at varying intervals, with headings giving only month and year and the elapsed time since the last episode -- usually several weeks or months although only 5 minutes in one case. There is a frequent use -- amounting almost to a mechanical tic -- of longish flashbacks of varying apparent relevance inserted in the middle of these episodes. Furthermore, the book shares with Conversations with Friends only the most general and perfunctory descriptions of any intellectual and political aspects of the characters' lives aside from their erotic/emotional relationship as Irish high school and Trinity College (Dublin) students. The result is often an oddly alienated or muffled sense of Marianne's and Connell's lives, and the outcome at the end of the book feels neither convincing nor satisfying.

t
tina43
Apr 13, 2020

This book is a total waste of time. I gave it every chance to get better by completing it,but just never got the point of why these two people even cared about each other.

CALS_Lee Apr 09, 2020

Rooney has been called the first great Millennial author - and that after only two books! I thought Normal People at least fulfilled some of that hype, though neither the hype nor its inevitable backlash are Rooney's fault, she's just out here trying to write some good novels, with a spare and precise and lovely prose and a focus (so far) on characters about her own age in her own part of the world - young Irish people, then.

Normal People is about the constantly shifting imbalances and uncertainties in the relationship between two such young people, Marianne and Connell. In high school, Connell has lots of social capital but no actual capital, being a popular athlete raised by a poor single mother, while Marianne has no social capital but lots of actual capital, being an introverted loner from a wealthy but dysfunctional family. They're the two best students in the class. They get together and misunderstand each other and break up.

They move across the country to attend the same Dublin university, where Marianne emerges into possession of both social and actual capital, while Connell experiences a sharp lack of both. They get together and misunderstand each other and break up.

The novel is an insightful examination of how forces outside our control - money, family, social structures, but especially money - have a vast influence on the formation of our personalities and identities as we grow up and come into adulthood. When Marianne and Connell both win a highly competitive scholarship and stipend that funds post-grad study:

"For her the scholarship was a self-esteem boost, a happy confirmation of what she has always believed about herself anyway: that she's special. Connell has never really known whether to believe that about himself, and he still doesn't know. For him the scholarship is a gigantic material fact, like a vast cruise ship that has sailed into view out of nowhere... It's like something he assumed was just a painted backdrop all his life has revealed itself to be real: foreign cities are real, and famous artworks, and underground railway systems, and remnants of the Berlin Wall. That's money, the substance that makes the world real. There's something so corrupt and sexy about it."

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CORI D. MORRIS
Apr 06, 2020

CORI D. MORRIS thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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J_257
Aug 04, 2019

J_257 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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ArapahoeMaryA Feb 07, 2020

Marianne had a wildness that got into him for a while and made him feel that he was like her, that they had the same unnameable spiritual injury, and that neither of them could ever fit into the world. But he was never damaged like she was. She just made him feel that way.

There’s something frightening about her, some huge emptiness in the pit of her being. It’s like waiting for a lift to arrive and when the doors open nothing is there, just the terrible dark emptiness of the elevator shaft, on and on forever. She’s missing some primal instinct, self-defense or self-preservation, which makes other human beings comprehensible. You lean in expecting resistance, and everything just falls away in front of you.

ArapahoeAnnaL Sep 17, 2019

He makes a facial expression she can't interpret, kind of raising his eyebrows, or frowning. When they get back to his house the windows are all dark and Lorraine is in bed. In Connell's room he and Marianne lie down together whispering. He tells her she's beautiful. pg. 45

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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