Normal People by Sally Rooney | An unsettling story about sex, love, and relationships.

«Normal People» by Sally Rooney is not an easy book to review. I’m still not entirely sure if I liked it or not. 

Does it really deserve the 5-star rating I’ve given it immediately after turning the last page? I can’t answer this question yet.

There are books that instantly become our favorites, and there are books that will stay with us for a very long time, the little plot details engraved in our memory. Even though you won’t be reaching to re-read those books any time soon (or ever). That’s how I felt about «Memoirs of Geisha» that was an extraordinary reading experience and one of the first adult books I’ve ever read, and that’s also how I feel about «Normal People» by Sally Rooney.

goodreads blurb:

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years.

This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.


This Irish author came to the literary scene with her debut novel «Conversations with Friends» in 2017, followed by «Normal People» in 2018. Her writing style is very peculiar, her novels received some harsh critique and were called “a meaningless collection of words”. But also became bestsellers, won awards and were featured on countless Instagram accounts of many celebrities and influences. 

In fact, BBC is currently filming its 12 episodes adaptation of «Normal People», and I already know that it will break even more hearts once this min TV show is out.


1 – «Normal People» by Sally Rooney is probably the saddest, most-disturbing and an emotional book I’ve read in a long time. If you go into this book expecting a light summer read, you’ll be very shocked by how raw and real the story feels. The book is only a little above 250 pages long, but it took me a couple of days to finish it because I couldn’t read more than 30-50 pages at a time. 

Slightly depressing, «Normal People» felt like a plunge in the darkest depth of human emotion. 

2 – Sally Rooney is a master of characterization. This book is essentially a character study. It focuses on the relationship between Connell and Marianne, and on their individual development. Both of them felt unbelievably real, to the point of “raw realness” where the author wasn’t afraid to cover up the ugliness of life.

3 – This book isn’t for everyone. And I can see why people wouldn’t like it. It’s depressive, sad and made me shiver more than once while reading about what these characters went through or how they dealt with it. But somehow I still liked it? sort of? I can’t explain my attachment to Marianne’s and Connell’s destructive relationship. I wanted to yell at them and set them on the “right” path, but who am I to say what is right for them? 


1 – The only somewhat negative thing I need to mention is the use of punctuation, or better, the lack of it when it comes to dialogues. At first, I wasn’t sure where the new line started and who was saying what, but after 20ish pages, I got used to it and didn’t have any issues with the punctuation for the rest of the book. 

Not sure why the author thought it was a good idea to not distinguish the dialogs from the rest of the text. Maybe the idea was to add a seamless flow to the story, but instead, it added this distraction element that you needed to get used to stopping noticing it entirely.

My rating:



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11 thoughts on “Normal People by Sally Rooney | An unsettling story about sex, love, and relationships.

  1. WOW! This sounds SO DEEP! I was NOT expecting this book to be this dark, not gonna lie. But I’m really glad you enjoyed it! I feel like it’s something I would have to try in the summer … I only like reading happy things in the winter and spring ha-ah!

    Lovely review (as always ❤ )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahah, I wasn’t expecting it to be this dark either when I started reading it. But it was actually very good. I recently read «The Vegetarian» and that one was.. too dark. I had to put it down multiple times because I didn’t have a stomach to keep reading. *brrr*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I NEED TO READ THIS NOW!!!!!! Amazing review Alex. I actually own a copy of this but keep putting it off 🙈🙈🙈 will definitely get to it soon :))))

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a fantastic review and I agree with pretty much everything that you’ve said! I can see why people would hate Normal People too and even now, months after reading it, I’m still not really sure how I feel about it? I mean, I think I really loved it lol but it really is incredibly depressing! It’s certainly one that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon though… I also didn’t know they were making it into a series, so I’m defo keen to check that out! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 🙂
      That’s true, it’s one of those books that I will probably never forget, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I loved it… It’s weird 😀 I also got her other book – Conversations with Friends, and I’m kinda dreading to read it. Lol


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