Home Arts & Lit Reviews Review of ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney

Review of ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney

In light of World Book Day, Lucy Deering reviews Sally Rooney's 'sad but hopeful' novel, 'Normal People'.

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I was hesitant about choosing Sally Rooney’s Normal People as my ‘favourite book of recent months’. I wondered: is there really anyone out there who still hasn’t read it? With all the articles written about it, love and official award recognition, has this novel been discussed too much recently? I’m not sure.

This is an amazing book. It is intelligent and moving but also well written and easy to read, making it the perfect 20-minute evening distraction for students stressing about deadlines. It is a book that reminds you reading is fun, even if you sometimes feel that everyone at university is trying to persuade you otherwise…

Rooney tackles issues such as mental health and class conflict whilst telling the story of an on-again-off-again romantic relationship between the two students Marianne and Connell. These themes make the novel relatable, and I believe an important piece of literature for lower-income millennials who might feel slightly out of place at prestigious UK universities such as Exeter. It is entirely believable, and you feel as though the characters could be sitting in your seminar or might have attended last weekend’s house party.

Rooney tackles issues such as mental health and class conflict

As Rooney takes us through last years at school all the way up to graduation from Trinity in Dublin, she effectively and often upsettingly displays the self-condemnation that is widespread in our generation. It is a sad but also hopeful book, suggesting that struggle needs to be recognised in order to be overcome.

Rooney’s work is not just a book about ‘normal people’, but a book for ‘normal people’. Promoting accessible novels is what I believe World Book Day is all about – so if there is anyone out there who still hasn’t ready Normal People, I think it’s important that you do.

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