Normal People by Sally Rooney | Book Review + Questions
Updated: May 19
Hey, you! 😀
It's a wonderful feeling to finally tick off a book from my TBR list. I don't know how it's possible but somehow I can always find new books to add to my reading list, no matter how long it is already! It's soooo hard to keep up and keep better track. So when I do finish reading a book and I can finally remove it from my list, I cherish every second of it.
As you saw on the title, the recent book I finished reading is Normal People by Sally Rooney. I don't know how long it was on my TBR list. Probably 4 or 5 years. I've heard so much about it, but thankfully somehow I didn't read any spoilers. Even now, with the series that came out, I had no idea what I was getting into.
Thanks to my book club, I was finally able to read it and .... well, I think I took more pleasure removing it from my TBR list than actually reading the story.
It's a coming-of-age story. We don't know exactly when Connell and Marianne first meet, but their friendship starts in high school. I'm not sure if you can even call it a friendship as they pretend not knowing each other when in public. They eventually graduate from high school and we follow them as they go through college and start working.
The main issue that I had about this story is that the plot is mainly based on moments when the main characters get together only to separate again. Every time. This makes it hard for me to understand the connection they have because we basically only get the hard times. Personally, I would have wanted more of the good times, sweet moments, and the comfort scenes between the two. You can't deny that they have this inability to let go of one another, but I couldn't see why.
Beyond that, I thought that it was realistic and relatable. I did not like Connell in the beginning mainly because I thought he was taking advantage of Marianne's feelings towards him when they were younger. But throughout the book, I can see how his character developed. He changed and I think it's mostly because he had therapy, which only highlights how important therapy can be to one's growth. Marianne, on the other hand, was a huge disappointment to me especially on the last chapter. I felt like she was still stuck in high school.
That last chapter really bothered me. I felt like she was still playing games with him. Mindfucking games. Testing him to see a reaction. After a while, when you care for someone and it's been that long, I feel there is no space for games in a healthy relationship. The difference between both might just be that he had therapy while she didn't.
I was not expecting a happily-ever-after ending. On the other hand, I think I would have been really disappointed if it had been a tragic one. So the ending we got I thought was just perfect.
At that point, I don't think they influenced one another in a good way and somehow brought the worst out of each other. So with Connell leaving and moving on, not just from Marianne, but in a professional way as well, this is the opportunity for each of them to work on themselves separately. Especially Marianne. She needs to work on herself, especially with everything that has happened to her and with her family too.
After all's been said and done, it's time for them to be their own person and make it on their own, before even being in a healthy relationship with each other or anyone else for that matter.
⭐: 3 / 5
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Book Club Questions:
What do you think is the significance of the title? What would be a better title for this book?
Do you think Connell was taking advantage of Marianne's feelings when they were in high school?
Which character did you prefer?
Do you think Connell or Marianne change throughout the book? How?
Which part of the book stood out most for you? And why?
How does Marianne's family influence her and her decisions?
Do you things between Marianne and Connell would have worked out if he had moved in over the summer?
Do you think Marianne and Connell were good to each other? Or was it the opposite?
What adjective would you use describe Connell? Marianne? D
How do you feel about the ending?
Did your feelings change about the book change from when you started reading to when you finished it?
Did you think the book was overrated or underrated?
Should there be a sequel?
Would you want to read another book from this author?
Would you watch the series?