Normal People

Normal People

[a Novel]

Book - 2019
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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. Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.
Publisher: London ; New York : Hogarth, [2019]
Edition: First United States edition.
ISBN: 9781984822178
Branch Call Number: ROONEY S
Characteristics: 273 pages ; 22 cm


From the critics

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Jan 17, 2021

Unassailable, at least in my bookclub.

Jan 17, 2021

Normal People is a story of two people who are both damaged and affected by their life experiences in such unique ways that only the other can understand. It is a modern love story filled with heartbreak, the challenges of life, and character growth. We see Marianne and Connell fall in love and leave each other repeatedly, and the way they continually come back to one another. It is a story with so many layers and beautiful writing that shows how young love can have a lasting impact on the rest of your life.

Jan 11, 2021

I found this book disappointing and uncomfortable to read. It started out with great promise, but really seemed to bog down once the protagonists went to college. I suppose it is realistic in a gritty, icky way; but it certainly is not what I would call entertainment nor uplifting. Many times I wanted to stop reading. I really cannot recommend it. I also agree w a previous comment--would have preferred quotation marks.

Jan 05, 2021

I personally had a very difficult time with not having any quotation marks- I know its a style and a choice of the author but for me it took awhile to get used to. Additionally, I was not fond of either of the main characters- to me they did not have redeeming qualities.

I liked that the relationship felt real and raw, which is hard to come by- however, I just did not care about either character to be invested or enjoy the story that was told.

VaughanPLKatherine Nov 20, 2020

I found this book very modern and relatable, I was not surprised to see the author is my age.
Sometimes I hated the way the characters were acting and yet I could see myself acting the same way and making the same decisions, saying similar things.

This is by no means a 'fun' 'light' love story, and I appreciate that it delves into the insecurities, blurriness of current relationships. Both characters have their own mental health issues and we see how that comes into play throughout their relationship and friendship.

I would recommend if you want a deep, though provoking love story, but not the warm and fuzzies.

sjpl_rebekah Nov 10, 2020

There are so many layers to this story and the relationship it portrays. The magnetism between the two characters in palpable, and it is fascinating how they orbit in and out of each other's lives. Connell and Marianne are soulmates, but both are so damaged and have so much self-loathing that neither of them can really see it, even as they act on it. To say their relationship is complicated is a vast understatement because there is so much nuance to their every interaction. They show each other parts of themselves that they show no one else, while at the same time shutting each other out from the aspects of themselves that they freely give other people. At the end, I was left with the sense that despite their tumultuous history, they will always find their way back to each other. I found this satisfying in a way, even as it left me feeling slightly bereft.

Nov 09, 2020

I truly cannot say enough wonderful things about this novel. As readers, we are privy to the inner lives of those experiencing the tumult of young love and finding one’s place in the world—specifically the world of the 21st century. As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, it was a beautiful description of what the process of healing looks like—albeit a rough process at times. I can’t recommend this book any more highly. Take some time and dive into the complex worlds of Connell and Marianne.

Nov 07, 2020

100% fell in love with this book. As a young person I think this book is so relatable because we've all been in this weird position of miscommunication in a relationship. Read this book during lockdown and can totally relate. Lots of high and downs reading about Colin and Marrianne and their complicated relationship. I laughed and cried with this book. I hate the ending but I would re-read it because its so good. Please write a second part!!

Nov 01, 2020

A beautifully written & poetic Story of first Love and all the angst, tumult, and ultimate transformation that entails. Sally's ability to delve into the depths of emotions without getting waylaid by them is reminiscent for me of the early chapters of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. This is masterful Storytelling from a gifted Author.

Oct 29, 2020

I think you need to fix the ability to download it to my Kindle before you start working on appearances. It also keeps failing to download. Also, I am fed up of having to guess which ebook I want from a list of 10+ options, only to find I guessed wrong and it is the epub version, not the Kindle version. Ridiculous.

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Add a Quote
Aug 06, 2020

I’m just nervous, he says. I feel like it’s pretty obvious I don’t want you to leave.

In a tiny voice she says: I don’t find it obvious what you want.

Aug 06, 2020

If people appeared to behave pointlessly in grief, it was only because human life was pointless, and this was the truth that grief revealed.

Aug 06, 2020

Cruelty does not only hurt the victim, but the perpetrator also, and maybe more deeply and more permanently. You learn nothing very profound about yourself simply by being bullied; but by bullying someone else you learn something you can never forget.

ArapahoeMaryA Feb 07, 2020

Marianne had a wildness that got into him for a while and made him feel that he was like her, that they had the same unnameable spiritual injury, and that neither of them could ever fit into the world. But he was never damaged like she was. She just made him feel that way.

There’s something frightening about her, some huge emptiness in the pit of her being. It’s like waiting for a lift to arrive and when the doors open nothing is there, just the terrible dark emptiness of the elevator shaft, on and on forever. She’s missing some primal instinct, self-defense or self-preservation, which makes other human beings comprehensible. You lean in expecting resistance, and everything just falls away in front of you.

ArapahoeStaff26 Sep 17, 2019

He makes a facial expression she can't interpret, kind of raising his eyebrows, or frowning. When they get back to his house the windows are all dark and Lorraine is in bed. In Connell's room he and Marianne lie down together whispering. He tells her she's beautiful. pg. 45


Add Age Suitability
Jan 26, 2021

PAOLA SALGUERO thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Aug 28, 2020

kaitoryn thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Apr 06, 2020

CORI D. MORRIS thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Aug 04, 2019

J_257 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


Add a Summary
SPL_HEATHERL Jun 25, 2019

Connell and Marianne attend the same high school in small town, present day
Ireland. On the surface they have nothing in common and probably wouldn't
have crossed paths outside school had it not been for the fact that
Connell's mother cleans house for Marianne's mother and Connell waits at the
house to take his mother home every day. So begins a friendship that is kept
hidden from their school friends because at school Connell is one of the
popular and confident kids, and Marianne is considered an awkward oddity,
having no friends, but really not caring either. Connell is embarrassed to
be seen at school with Marianne and Marianne seems to accept that they
shouldn't acknowledge each other.

Skip ahead a year, and the two are at university in Dublin. Marianne has
found her confidence and is popular and outgoing, while Connell can only
stand looking on from the sidelines uncertain with what to do with his life.
Despite the changes in their circumstances they are each supportive of the
other, and through numerous personal, sometimes destructive relationships,
they always eventually gravitate towards one another.

Normal People could be called a coming of age novel and the central
characters are young people, but it isn't necessarily a young adult novel. I
don't think Rooney is aiming to write for any particular generation because
what Connell and Marianne go through is applicable to most of us whatever
our ages. It's not quite a romance either, but it is a love story. It almost
defies categorization. Ultimately I think it's a novel about integrity and
doing the right thing for the person you love, all the while knowing that
your own life will likely be changed and diminished. It's a novel about pure
love, love that is capable of overcoming everything, including shame and
Nominated for the Booker prize, Sally Rooney's writing is beautiful, and
each new chapter is a snapshot in the lives of two flawed but hopeful young


Add Notices
Jan 26, 2021

Sexual Content: References to sex and BDSM.

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