Published: April 16, 2019 by Crown Publishing
Dates Read: April 10 – 13, 2019
Genre/Category: Coming of Age Fiction / Psychological Fiction
Read For: NetGalley ARC
“Life is the thing you bring with you inside your own head.”
There’s been a lot of buzz going around about this book, well before publication date, and fortunately I had the honor of reading it courtesy of NetGalley and Crown Publishing, and now I understand why.
Normal People is the story of two people, Marianne and Connell, two high school seniors who pretend not to know each other because of social status and class, but the secret is they do, and they’ve developed a relationship. We follow the teens through their senior year of high school and then off to college, where the two run into each other once again but in very different social situations. The narrative continues throughout their years at university, with Connell and Marianne both attempting to find their own paths, continuously drifting apart yet always finding a way back to each other, each time strengthening their bond yet making their friendship even more tortuous. It is the ultimate story of endearment and endurance.
Let me start by saying that the jacket description can be misleading. It is easy to mistake this as more of a YA type book because the main characters are in high school/college. Let me just stop you right there and tell you it is not, although the YA audience should definitely read it. This is a very serious book with multiple layers of complexity dealing with topics such as relationships (both family and personal), abuse, social acceptance, and most importantly communication. The tale carries with it a lot of deep undertones that are intertwined with a very complicated love story.
That’s just it, it’s a story. There is no plot. It’s just a brilliantly written, thought provoking drama that will completely engross you. (Imagine binge watching your favorite TV show/drama). The writing is very fluid, making the novel easy to read. I personally found the characters developed just enough to feel comfortable with them but feeling like they still had a bit of a “secret” hiding, which made them more interesting. There were a few times I honestly stopped reading and had to take a breath, because I was heartbroken over some of the situations that arose over the simple lack of communication.
In the end, I was overwhelmed. I truly wasn’t sure how I felt, I just sighed aloud and had this feeling I still cant describe, even a few days later. It was almost like the heartbreak of letting go and a sense of satisfaction combined in one. (I just cant come up with the word for it). I would definitely recommend this novel to others, I enjoyed reading it and I enjoyed the emotional journey it took me on. I look forward to reading more from Sally Rooney in the future.
Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for an ARC of this novel for my unbiased and honest review.