REVIEWED BY GABRIELLE STONES
Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber: 2019)
I would like to warmly invite you into the world of Marianne and Connell.
Sally Rooney’s book Normal People introduces us to a couple that builds a rollercoaster of a relationship. A bond that reads to be infuriating, yet at the same time, electric. Growing up in Ireland, we follow the pair through their adolescence and into the whirlwind of early adulthood. The couple are navigating life as polar opposites. Marianne is a clever, wealthy girl with a difficult, abusive home life. Connell is popular, working class with a stable and comforting mother.
I felt as if I was growing amongst these characters, as I was introduced to not only their lives, but their emotions. We are welcomed as readers into their world; but also their minds. And this is the key reason I enjoyed and still enjoy this book so much: because, we are introduced to this flawed relationship, where both parties are by no means perfect. Their communication is non-existent and their patience wears thin, but we care for these characters because we’ve been a constant in the growth of their relationship.
Whilst it may seem like a difficult relationship to wrap your head around, it’s painfully and undoubtedly real. Rooney is opening the door to the realm of real and raw love. All I’ve ever been inclined to read are the ‘and they lived happily ever after’, this completely changed my view on romance in books, and how we should cherish the raw journey.
As readers, we’re given an insight into two different lifestyles, and how they forget all differences and face all obstacles to prioritise each other. This is what love should really be about; we should be embracing love for its reality and its flaws, not creating an out-of-reach desire.
For a love story that is so heart-warming, it comes with its frustrations. It’s a book that I would recommend to all, as it’s a love story I feel like would resonate with anyone. A book that opened my eyes to the reality of love.