'Normal People' Book Review

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Book: Normal People Author: Sally Rooney Genre: Fiction, Romance Pages: 290 (Kindle) Published: August 2018 (UK)

My Rating: 1/5 Stars

Happy Friday everyone! Today's book review is Sally Rooney's 'Normal People'.


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.

(Synopsis from Goodreads - Link)


Argh. I just. Arghhh, I don't know where to begin.

As I've said before, I write my reviews immediately after finishing the book - so you feel all of my initial reaction and emotion towards it. Like above. Because simply, arrghhh.

Like Marianne and Connell, I've had an on-off relationship with this book. I've wanted to DNF it, and I have repeatedly put it down with no intention of picking it back up again - but at the same time, I was highly recommended it by friends so really felt that I must finish it. Although honestly, I'm really not keen.

First things first, this book has no speech marks. No speech marks! Nil. None. I cannot express how irritating this was to read, I'd kept having to re-read certain sections to understand who's talking and I really don't understand why they're not there! The grammar and punctuation was just wrong, and it wasn't 'enjoyable' to read. It kind of made me a little stressed, in all honesty.

As for the plot... I don't understand it. There wasn't one, not really? At a basic level, it's a love story between Marianne and Connell; two school/college kids who have an on-off relationship throughout the ENTIRE book. That's it. It didn't go any further. At a deeper level, I genuinely found it a little creepy. I've read a few reviews where people have mentioned the love between the two characters and the connection they have - yet really, I find Connell controlling over Marianne (particularly towards the end, he CAN NOT stop talking about his control over her!) and it's clearly not a healthy relationship between them both.

I wish I read further into this book before buying it too - because if I knew just how many sexual mentions there'd be, then I wouldn't have bought it. It's constant. It's clearly the common theme throughout the book, following them both around - it's what unites them, and even when they're apart it's still present. I'm asexual so it's definitely not my area anyway, but it all genuinely made me feel a little sick at times.

I just didn't like it. The writing, the characters, the plot... not for me, sorry! I give this book a rating of 1 out of 5 stars, but that's me being generous. Trigger warnings: Descriptions of sex (not exactly a trigger, but it did make me uncomfortable), emotionally/psychologically manipulative relationships, abusive families, drinking, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and mentions of suicide.

A lot of people have said that the TV adaption is much better, so I might watch and review that, if anyone is interested?

Have you read 'Normal People' by Sally Rooney? What did you think of it?

If you'd like to read more of my book reviews, click here.

Take care and stay safe,

Sophie x

'Normal People', Sally Rooney

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