Sally Rooney Þ 1 READ.
Goddamit Sally Rooney and now I m crying I picked up my cup of coffee and took a large gulp swishing the liuid around in my mouth a little before swallowing Two stars I think I touched my hand to my face and rubbed my nose I clicked the two star rating I closed my eyes and nodded breathing out slowly Yes two stars I am not sure how to write this review because I seem to be so far beyond the pale on my antipathy to this book In simplest terms I didn t connect with this work at all and I would be best to chalk this up to a readerwriter mismatch and move on but I will try and articulate some of my reading experienceSome of my perplexity with Normal People is that I just couldn t relate to the twenty something highly educated politically aware and cynical young adults that populate this novel I am not sure how reflective these voices are of young Irish making their way in the world but as presented here I found them exasperating to listen to and not particularly nuanced It is possible that even if I didn t enjoy the novel I might like the writing but in actual fact Rooney s style is perhaps the single biggest thing that bugged me I found some passages of interest sandwiched between a lot of wooden dialogue and these flat descriptions Marianne goes inside and comes back out again with another bottle of sparkling wine and one bottle of red Niall starts unwrapping the wire on the first bottle and Marianne hands Connell a corkscrew Peggy starts clearing people s plates Connell unpeels the foil from the top of a bottle as Jamie leans over and says something to Marianne He sinks the screw into the cork and twists it downwards Peggy takes his plate away and stacks it with the others This ind of writing really gives me nothing Others have cited the two dimensional nature of her secondary characters and I would concur Barely any of them made much of an impression on me Alan Marianne s brother seemed particularly badly drawn He appears to be a Creationism in Europe key part of understanding Marianne and yet he warrants only a few pen strokes of unexplained malice and cruelty The opening of a wine bottle and pouring of cups of tea receives much page space I tried to understand Marianne who seems to be both ugly and beautiful popular and friendless Her hinted at troubled family life was suppose to underpin her need to be a submissive I remain unconvinced that this is really how dominance and submission works and I would think experts in BDSM might strongly take issue with some of the cliches here The relationship between Marianne and Connell should haveept this book afloat at the very least The intense emotional and physical connection the will they won t they stay together all the drama of YA love is here but it is in an eye wateringly navel gazing form I found it all exactingly po faced The number of inexplicable break ups largely based on mis communication was about three or four break ups too many for me I just wanted to yell at this novel most of the time Say what you mean and stop being so insufferably difficult either split up or stay together both
Your Friends And Ifriends and I don t care Marianne and Connell were of most interest to me when they started emailing each other discussing novels and politics thus preventing them breaking up over some new emotional minutiae Perhaps this should have been a novel of their email exchangesOh well I guess I will never be a Rooney fan and I have doubtless missed the point of this book entirely but that is ok not every book is for every reader No one can be independent of other people completely so why not give up the attempt she thought go running in the other direction depend on people for everything allow them to in the other direction depend on people for everything allow them to on you why not This is going to be a polarizing book I mean I think I liked it And I say liked it in the sense that it made me very miserable It is a uiet character study almost a YA novel but not uite and it is a profoundly lonely and depressing love storyI didn t begin by liking it Normal People follows two characters Marianne and Connell through adolescence and into early adulthood and they begin by being the La mythologie selon Game of Thrones kind of uber precocious teenagers who read Proust and Marx for fun It took a while for me to settle into their story My initial impression was that this was going to be someind of John Green for adults which is not something that floats my particular boatWithout fully realizing it though this book had crept uietly under my skin The relationship between Marianne and Connell is angsty sure but it felt painfully real They are so flawed marred by unlikable characteristics and yet I could not stop caring about them Not for the first time Marianne thinks cruelty does not only hurt the victim but the perpetrator also and maybe deeply and permanently You learn nothing very profound about yourself simply by being bullied but by bullying someone else you learn something you can never forget The story is really just about the two of them and their relationship In high school Marianne is a smart and wealthy girl but is socially ostracized and emotionally abused at home whereas Connell is working class but very popular Connell s mum works as a cleaner for Marianne s family They begin a secret sexual relationship that falls apart when Connell fears his friends will find out The compelling dynamic between them drives the story issues of class and social status cause much conflictIn college the two meet again This time Marianne is popular and Connell is feeling increasingly depressed The two of them lean on each other time and again as they move through Librarian's note An alternate cover edition can be found hereAt school Connell and Marianne pretend not to Golf by the Numbers know each other He’s popular and well adjusted star of the school soccer team while she is lonely proud and intensely private But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house a strange and indelible connection grows between the. Social world filled with social expectations There s a bit of a When Harry Met Sally vibe except that this book is soul destroying Nothing had meant to Rob than the approval of others to be thought well of to be a person of status He would have betrayed any confidence anyindness for the promise of social acceptance There s clear criticism of our constant need to impress and perform for others in a world that grows ever connected Much of the tragedy that befalls Marianne and Connell is caused by other people peer pressure and social expectations It is very sad to think that someone might give up who they love the most because they can t deal with how it makes them look to othersThe pair s inability to adeuately communicate is frustrating but feels realistic I was on the verge of tearing my hair out at all the things left unsaid in this book but I think it was a good ind of frustration The ind that comes from caring too much I feel like there are any number of reasons I could have hated Normal People but I didn t I actually inda loved it It s a weird awkward depressing novel about a connection formed between two very different people who find exactly what they need and perhaps a lot that they don t in each other CW sexual assault domestic abuse drug use casual racism called out depression anxiety suicide suicidal ideationBlog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube wow one of the most frustrating but humanising books i have read in a long time for sure i feel so exhausted after reading this but i think that may have been the authors intent its shows that normal people living normal lives can be uite tiresome for example the writing lacks uotation marks which makes the dialogue difficult to decipher which could be seen as support for the idea that life is just as messy as the books formatting and communication sometimes takes effort to understand there are massive jumps in the timeline with a lot of backtracking so much so that the drastic shifts are jarring which could be seen as exemplifying the notion that people change over time and friendships are bound to alterthings like this will polarise re Man booker prize long list nominee and Costa book awards nominee This is a book that has many admirers and sadly it didn t work for me and while I would love to agree with all the judges on this one I only struggled to the end because it was a bookclub read It is difficult to go against the grain on a book that is nominated for so many awards So as always you need to judge for yourself because books fit people differently uite simply this book didn t Fit Me I really have no interest in reading about 18 20 something year college id s onoff sexual relationships where they seem to only exist in their own little complex bubble and this book felt like a bubble It is described as exuisite love stroy which I honestly found nothing exuisite or no love in this one The characters of Connell and Marianne were dislikable and boring and the on off will they wont they relationship became repetitive reading The only character which I liked and felt any connection with in the novel was LorrainePerhaps this is suited for a younger audience where they connect with the college scene or for readers who like complex relationship stories but for me this was a struggle from start to finish On the second page of Sally Rooney s universally acclaimed Booker longlisted novel is the following paragraph He puts his hands in his pockets and suppresses an irritable sigh but suppresses it with an audible intake of breath so that it still sounds like a sigh WhatI get the hand in the pockets bit but how the hell does the rest of it work A sigh is an exhalation and I have no idea how any attempt to suppress a sigh by inhaling could possibly sound like one I ve tried hard to imagine it but no luck I ve tried even harder to do it but even less luck In fact in an effort to understand this twaddle I have tried it so often that I have come close on several occasions
to hyperventilating and passing outWhat have those Faber editors been doing Maybe they have no problem with it because theyhyperventilating and passing outWhat have those Faber editors been doing Maybe they have no problem with it because they all so much cleverer than me and now how to read properly Or maybe they also tried to do it and actually did "pass out which might explain why they have failed to apply the editorial pencil with any intelligence in "out which might explain why they have failed to apply the editorial pencil with any intelligence in 264 pages that followThe likely explanation of course is that the problem is mine and I offer the following gems from Normal People on that understanding He looks down into his lap and exhales uickly almost like a cough It s hyperventilation time again I ve imagined it and I ve tried it but I still don t get it He can t even visually imagine himself as a lawyer wearing a tie and so on Do we really need that visually It s true she is Connell s type maybe even the originary model of the type Originary What does that mean Am I the only one who had to look it up It s not in Chambers by the way so you ll need the OED Peggy watching took a performatively large mouthful of Cointreau Can anyone explain what performatively large actually means Enraged now Alan wrenched her back from the sink by her upper arm and seemingly spontaneously spat at her Seemingly spontaneously I the sink by her upper arm and seemingly spontaneously spat at her Seemingly spontaneously I go on It s not often that I feel the need to read with a pencil in my hand but Normal People drove me to it and my copy is now covered with uestion marks and annotations I retired from teaching last year but reading Sally Rooney s feted novel felt like I was marking again in this case marking the work of a precocious but overindulged talentIn Normal Peo. Two teenagers one they are determined to concealA year later they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines shy and uncertain Throughout their years in college Marianne and Connell circle one another straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically irresistibly draw.