Connell and Marianne are two teenagers of different social standings. While Connell is handsome, popular, and school athlete, Marianne is smart, imitating, and has no friends. While Marianne is wealthy, Connell’s mother works in Marianne’s house. After a couple of encounters, they began a secret relationship, since Connell is afraid of his reputation. When they end up going to Trinity College in Dublin, their popularity gets reversed. They move in and out of each other’s lives through college and develop a bond and desire so strong, that one feels incomplete without the other.
The plot majorly focuses on the dynamics between the principal characters. Connell and Marianne are drawn to each other over and over again, and the attraction is not just physical, it’s intellectual too.
Even though the title is ‘Normal People’, there is nothing normal about Connell and Marianne. Both deal with different issues such as —a dysfunctional family, different social-economic standing, mental health, and dominance. Connell and Marianne’s relationship is often in distress mostly because of unsaid words, rather than said words. I liked watching them grow but their repeated failure to acknowledge each other, made me cringe at times. I couldn’t relate to the characters or the choices they made, and the story didn’t stay with me afterwards.
If anything that stayed with me after I finished the book was Sally Rooney’s writing. She weaves thoughts and words so effortlessly that you feel like a movie is playing in your head. It’s beautifully written. The prose is brilliant and full of details, and you can’t help but move along with it. There are so many thought-provoking lines. I genuinely look forward to reading more works from the author—an extra star for the writing.
One of the many quotes from this book which made me think:
“It was culture as class performance, literature fetishised for its ability to take educated people on false emotional journeys, so that they might afterwards feel superior to the uneducated people whose emotional journeys they liked to read about.”
My Review: 3.5/5