2022 · contemporary

Book Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney

Title: Normal People

Author: Sally Rooney


At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to 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 two teenagers – one they are determined to conceal.

A 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 drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

After watching Fleabag (which was sooo good btw), I was really craving some books with those vibes. Thankfully TikTok put me onto this book and I’m glad it did because it was exactly what I was craving.

This book has such different vibes from anything I’ve read before. I do love romance but at times it can be a bit too perfect. This was very realistic and I enjoyed that aspect of it.

I wouldn’t say Normal People is a love story. It felt more like a story of friendship, relationships and overall life and growing up. It deals with the relationship between Marianne and Connell and their life from the end of high school and all throughout college. Connell is a popular guy and Marianne is an outsider but with their lives intertwining they realize they are much more similar then they thought.

This book was honestly a bit weird: from the relationship between two main characters (who are sleeping together but pretend they don’t even know each other in real life), the writing style (which was hard to understand at some points) to the whole atmosphere of the book. It reminded me of A Little Life, although much less heart-shattering.

Even though I loved this book, I don’t feel like I understood the message entirely. To me, it was about how even when people seem perfect and put-together from the outside, we all deal with our own personal problems. Or was it about how complex friendships and relationships are. I really don’t know. So yes, maybe I didn’t understand this book completely (especially the ending), but I still feel like this is something I needed in my life.

I’m not sure if I’ll be watching the TV series. Maybe later when my thoughts settle down a bit. Please let me know if you enjoyed this book and what your opinions were. Also, did you understand the message? I really want to know 🙂

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One thought on “Book Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney

  1. I feel like Normal People is such a strange book. A friend of mine recommended it to me back in 2020, and I remember absolutely loving the book as soon as I finished it. But now, looking back, I have no clue what I liked about it. I agree with you on the book having no clear message. When my friend and I discussed the book, we had taken away completely different points. I thought it was about flawed people in a flawed relationship, and my friend thought it was a clear social commentary on how class affects relationships. I think both points work honestly, but the picture is still incomplete.

    My rating for the book has definitely gone down over time, and I’m wondering if it needs a second read, but I can’t bring myself to re-read it.


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