Normal People by Sally Rooney

I picked Normal People by Sally Rooney up on one of my trips to Sainsbury’s to stock up on bargain books. I’d seen quite a buzz about it on social media, so thought I ought to read it. Even though I had no idea what it was actually about.

The reviews on the front certainly make it sound worth a read:

  • ‘The best novel published this year’ – The Times
  • ‘A future classic’ – Guardian
  • ‘Quite astonishing’ – Independent
  • ‘The most enjoyable novel of the year’ – Daily Telegraph

Normal People is set in Ireland a few years ago. It follows the lives of teenagers Connell and Marianne. It starts when they are still at school. Connell is the cool kid with lots of friends, while Marianne is the weirdo with no friends, who nobody talks to.

But Connell starts talking to Marianne and they form a special and very intense bond.

Normal People follows them through university as they try to stay apart, but keep getting pulled back together. They have relationships with other people, but the bond between them is too strong for them to stay away from each other for long.

At times I wanted to just shout at the book – ‘Why did you do that? Can’t you see that s/he loves you? Why don’t you just stay together?’ I’m not familiar with the love lives of 20-somethings, so maybe they are literally ‘normal people’ and that’s how normal people live their love lives.

This is not a conventional love story and it’s definitely not chick-lit. It’s a moving story of two increasingly troubled young people. There’s a lot of sex in the book, but the sex scenes are the most under-dramatised sex scenes I’ve ever read, which actually makes a refreshing change.

So did it live up to the hype?

For me, probably not.

It was an enjoyable read with likeable characters, but maybe there had been too much hype and I was expecting something more.

Have you read Normal People? What did you think? Best book of the year or just a pleasant read?

I’ve just heard that it is to be made into a 12 part BBC series. It’s a pretty short book, so I’m not sure how they will make 12 parts out of it! 

Normal People, Normal People by Sally Rooney, Sally Rooney, Book review

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I’ve seen a few people reading this recently, isn’t it fun how books become ‘cult’ so quickly? If you don’t give it 10/10 I certainly wont so probably will stay clear!

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    • I think that’s wise! I really wouldn’t recommend it. It’s OK, but I don’t really get why people have raved about it so much.

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  2. I bought my sister a book for Christmas that everybody had raved about and she was really disappointed with it. Sorry you didn’t think Normal People lived up to the hype, it sounds like a book that I would enjoy.


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    • It is a shame when that happens with a book. I must say that I do usually enjoy hyped books – The Hunger Games, Girl on the Train, Eleanor Oliphant, Me Before You… This was OK, but not in the same league as any of those.

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  3. I must have missed all the hype as I haven’t heard of this book. It sounds good so shame it didn’t live upto expectation for you #readwithme

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    • It’s not bad, but it’s nowhere near as good as I was hoping for! But that’s just my opinion of course.

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  4. I hadn’t heard of this book until you mentioned it so I definitely missed all of the hype surrounding it, not sure I’d actually enjoy reading it #readwithme

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    • It was OK, but slightly underwhelming. I wouldn’t be in a rush to recommend it to anyone, put it that way!

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  5. I have not heard of this book at all but it sounds like my cup of tea quite possibly because I never pursue the ones I really want or wanted through lack of self-belief. Maybe I should write my own book!? #ReadWithMe Having said that I tend to steer clear if people give things cult status as a bit of a rebel that way. Oh and the Irish always appeals to me.

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    • It sounds like you will probably enjoy this book. I tend to enjoy hyped books, but this one just left me a bit underwhelmed. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as I’d hoped.
      Maybe you should write your own book!

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    • You will probably enjoy it in that case. I thought it was OK, but it didn’t blow me away.

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  6. I haven’t heard of it and I don’t think I’ll be buying it. I might watch it, though, I think I might enjoy it more than if I read it.

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    • I’d thought I might watch it myself, but realistically I’m not that good at watching TV! I’ll watch a series, then have three months without watching anything apart from the news!

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