BOOK REVIEW : Normal People by Sally Rooney

GOODREADS: 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. 

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Reading the book was quite exhausting. The love story of Marianne and Connell was tiring but the book carefully dissects the character of both. Communication in a world full of judgement and people acting cool and the contest between who can care less and invests no feelings in the relationship is lonely. Both of them obviously have feelings toward another but not being able to tell it directly makes them go in continuous circle.

Both characters have complex personalities but the way they think is so raw and real and exactly what happens every single day. But as you continue to read the book, you’ll watch how the characters develop and learn more about themselves, embrace them and finally be comfortable in their own skin (without having to think about what other people would think)

  • Don’t delude yourself. I have nothing to learn from you.
  • Everyone has to pretend not to notice that their social lives are arranged hierarchically, with certain people at the top, some jostling at mid-level, and others lower down.
  • ‘People in school don’t lie her, do they? So I suppose you were afraid of what they would say about you, if they found out.’
  • It’s easy for them to have opinions, and to express them with confidence. They don’t worry about appearing ignorant or conceited.
  • He knew then that the secret for which he had sacrificed his own happiness and the happiness f another person had been trivial all along, and worthless. He and Marianne could have walked down the school corridors hand in hand, and with what consequence? Nothing really. No one cared.
  • I suppose I didn’t want you to think I was damaged or something.
  • There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.
  • Is the world such an evil place, that love should be indistinguishable?
  • Life is the thing you bring with you inside your own head.
  • She feels pleasurably crushed under the weight of his power over her, the vast ecstatic depth of her will to please him.
  • She is an abyss that he can reach into, an empty space for him to fill.
  • I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I cared what people thought of me.

What they have now, they can never have back again.. But for her the pain of  loneliness will be nothing to the pain that she used to feel, of being unworthy. He brought her goodness like a gift and now it belongs to her. Meanwhile his life opens out before him in all directions at once. They’ve done a lot of good for each other. Really, she thinks really. People can really change one another.

‘You should go’. she says. I’ll always be here. You know that.

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