Rating: 3/5 Stars
The novel, “Normal People” by Sally Rooney is a story of young love between Connell and Marianne. These two teenagers come from different backgrounds, Marianne from a wealthy family and Connell from a low income single family household. They are brought together as Connell’s mother is a maid in Marianne’s family home. The story covers the evolution of their relationship throughout high school and into their collegiate careers.
The story opens with the two main characters enrolled in high school. The author dives into the adolescent mindset and explores the tribulations of socioeconomic class and its impacts on youth interactions. The early connection between Connell and Marianne was endearing and has reminded me what it is like to be a high school student, slightly awkward, searching for self-identity and in love.
The author’s style does not include much flair and is very straight forward and blunt. It is a refreshingly succinct prose that allows the psychology of the characters and their actions to shine through.
However, I found the content to be slightly depressing at times as the main character Marianne clearly has some issues involving her self-esteem and how she allows men to treat her. This self destructive behavior is hard for me to overlook as a female reader. However, the book does have romantic moments that make up for those darker undertones.
Another thing that I did not particularly care for was the detail in which the author explored the sexual relationship of the main characters. I understand the purpose of the intimate details and why they were included, but I prefer books without this sort of content.
Overall, I found the book to be an interesting read but it was not my favorite. The second half of the book discussed Marianne’s downward spiral in depth which left me feeling disconnected from the main characters. I had hoped some of the issues would be resolved at the end of the book, but to no avail. I was left turning the page, looking for the rest of the story and asking myself, “That’s it?”
Recommendations: I’d skip this one unless you are interested in the psychology of youth and destructive decisions.