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Normal People

Well, I finished the book. I’m confused, sad, mad. Basically every emotion except happy right now. And I applaud authors who give realistic endings, I do. Not everything in real life is like a fairytale with a happy ending. In the real world there is heartbreak and disappointment and ups and downs.

But my feelings stem from a totally lack of understanding as to why I wasted my time reading this. Two people who understand each other on such a complex level, physically and mentally, but can’t share how they’re feeling with each other? That when the bare minimum effort is shown that this thing between them could actually turn into a relationship they run away from each other thinking that will keep them apart? They can’t stay away from each other and they can admit that to themselves, but not the fact that they are depressed, suicidal, alone and miserable when they are apart?

They can say I love you and mean it with their whole hearts and still walk away from each other? I just spent days reading this and for what? What was the point of this story? That even when your perfect for each other it doesn’t always work out? That broken people can’t be healed? Or maybe that you need to heal yourself before you can be with someone? That if you love something enough you have to let it go? That if you’re truly meant to be together no time apart can change the way you feel about each other? SO. MANY. QUESTIONS!

Don’t get me wrong the writing was beautiful (the quotes alone were just... chef's kiss) and I will definitely be picking up some more Sally Rooney in the future. Just maybe not for the next 3 years since I will still be recovering from this book. While the writing was exquisite, the style of it threw me off for a while. The lack of quotation marks made dissecting dialogue difficult and I often had to re-read sections to figure out who was saying what.

I also feel like there were huge gaps in Marianne’s life that we weren’t shown. We know her family situation is strained at best and have been hinted that there was abuse and she has trauma from it. But her need to be dominated and hit never seems to be uncovered fully and Connell never seems to push to find out. He just makes assumptions and tiptoes around the topic. We also never really know what they talk about when they’re with each other. Maybe he knows all this and us as a reader never find out? It drives me crazy that both Connell and Marianne act like they don’t care about what other people say. The fact that they still think it’s weird from them to be together seems childish to me. There is so much regret between them and I can't imagine living my life like that. So scared to share my feelings with someone that I in the moment walking away seems like a better option.

Wow that was quiet the rant. Unfortunately, I very much disliked the book and would love to sit down with someone who liked it to help me understand what I’m missing. I wanted to like it so bad, but this was definitely a struggle for me to finish. To top off this depressive state the book has put me in, I will be starting the TV adaptation of Normal People on Hulu now. :/

Book Rating: 2/5

Spice Rating: 3/5 [trigger warnings and mature content]

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