Normal People, by Sally Rooney

Do you ever take your time reading a novel because you don’t want it to end? That was my predicament with this novel.

I don’t really know where to start with this review because it tugged on my heartstrings so hard. Normal People was my April selection with Book of the Month. You can sign up for Book of the Month here. If you do, we both will receive a free book!

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Brief Synopsis:

Normal People is about two teens, Marianne and Connell, that find an affinity for one another during their senior year of high school.

Marianne is the target of a lot of bullying in school because to other students, she is odd. She comes from a wealthy family, lives in a large home, lost her father at a young age and doesn’t have any friends or a good relationship with her surviving family members.

Connell is a star football player (I should mention that the novel is set in Ireland), popular, attractive and the soft-spoken member of the group of students that bully Marianne. He is the son of a single mother that he has a very strong relationship with.

Told in a beautiful and unique third person prose, the story weaves through the years following Marianne and Connell’s brief romance.

Rooney tells the story in a way that shows the reader how seemingly small choices can affect the lives of others in the years following.

It is a raw and honest look at a millennial romance.


While this novel is less than 300 pages, it touches on some many sensitive subjects and themes, including:

  • Socioeconomic standing & reputation
  • What it means to “belong”
  • Several mental health topics

“You learn nothing profound about yourself simply by being bullied; but by bullying someone else you learn something that you can never forget.”

– Marianne, pg. 213

Personal Feedback & Thoughts:

This book isn’t for everyone. I’ve read many mixed reviews and my conclusion it is more likely that people in my age range (early 20’s to mid-30’s) will find an affinity for the story.

Marianne and Connell graduate in the year 2011, the same year as I graduated. Their college years parallel my own. Their inner monologue harmonized with my past experiences, and it was validating to hear the voice of someone else’s similar pain and self-exploration.

I found the ending to be a little rushed but I still liked the way that the story came to a close. It was left in a perpetual state, allowing you to create your own interpretation of what happened to the characters.

Sally Rooney captures the mind-set and thought process of someone suffering from depression, which tells me that she is writing from a sacred place inside herself and drew from personal experience. I’m definitely adding her other novels to my TBR list!

Normal People coming to Hulu in 2020:

Announced 2-days ago, Normal People will be adapted into a 12-episode BBC series scheduled to air in 2020.

You can read more about it here!

Buy Normal People here:

Also by Sally Rooney:

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