Normal People

Normal People

A Novel

Book - 2019
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The unconventional secret childhood bond between popular Connell and lonely, intensely private Marianne is tested by character reversals in their first year at a Dublin college that render Connell introspective and Marianne social, but self-destructive.
Publisher: London ; New York : Hogarth, [2019]
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9781984822178
Branch Call Number: F ROO
Characteristics: 273 pages ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Normal people


From the critics

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Mar 12, 2020

I read this book per a family member’s recommendation. Although I really enjoyed the format, I found it very difficult to get excited about the book. It was unfortunately underwhelming because I had been on the waitlist for this book for about a month! With each chapter, I wanted to finally get closer to the end of the book. There were some characters I found problematic who really didn’t add much to the story and my experience other than to make me roll my eyes more. Keep in mind that the story is NOT plot-driven, so you may reach the end the book and just say “what” like I did.

Mar 06, 2020

This novel rather depressed me; the actions of the two main characters seemed arbitrary, particularly Marianne's. I can't chalk it up to a foreign country, since it's Ireland in the 2010's and the people are middle class. The bondage and discipline habit of one character seemed out of place for her circle, like it belongs to another novel entirely.

Mar 01, 2020


Feb 28, 2020

Talented author, promising story, but what a letdown! You want the two characters to get together but they just persist in circling each other and denying their obvious attraction (obvious to everyone, including the other characters in the story). This creates great tension at first, but then you just get tired of the same old merry-go-round as the author has them get together, pull apart, get together, pull apart. At about the halfway point, I realized I had better things to do with my time than finish the book. Really disappointed...

Feb 28, 2020

John Riti loved it

ArapahoeMaryA Feb 07, 2020

This book is so profoundly depressing that I could hardly wait to turn the final page.

Jan 17, 2020

I was seduced inwards to a life built by two teens growing up in pain and pleasure to be normalized. As predictable that the characters are in my grasp, as dangerous the inner world gripping me.
Her style is unique, loquacious (but like a melody and regulate my breath), sheen dulled to buff (with occasional vibrant red, like blood and lip, left in my memory), disguised in a veneer of nonchalance.
I don’t mind picking up a sequel (when Connell goes to New York), to confound how sick, disturbed, empty, weak normal people can cycle through.

Jan 16, 2020

One of the best books of the year--simultaneously a page turner and a thought provoking interrogation of two individuals' tragically debilitating struggles to overcome the sense that they are less valuable than the people around them--those who ostensibly constitute the "normal people" (though the novel hints that many of its minor characters also struggle to perform "normal"--particularly in terms of defining any sort of "normal" hetero-masculinity or hetero-femininity--interestingly, the quiet suggestion is that the one gay couple slightly off stage in the book seems to be on surer footing). Rooney's latest is a coming of age novel with such exquisite character development that the action of the book comes mainly from the protagonists' evolving patterns of thought. That they (Connell and Marianne) are both brilliant individuals, makes it fascinating to spend this sort of time in their minds, and piece out how such gifted people with no impediments to success in the outside world, instead struggle to overcome the formidable barrier of their own hurt selves. While this is a theme taken up with some frequency in novels, Rooney's treatment feels uniquely observant and timely. A brilliant book.

HerrickDL_Laura Jan 16, 2020

A coming of age love story spanning from high school- graduate school. This emotional novel tells the story of a pair of “friends” that share a passionate desire for one another, but this attraction filters through an astronomical number of miscommunications. The author delves into the inner lives of these characters so the reader can see why they act as they do. I cannot wait to see the forthcoming 2020 series on BBC/HULU

Jan 13, 2020

Secret History meets Shades of Grey? Heartfelt attempt at bottling the essence of how it feels to be young, awkward, bullied and yet remain hopeful and passionate. Well written.

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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.

ArapahoeAnnaL 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


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Aug 04, 2019

J_257 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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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


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