Normal People

Normal People

A Novel

Book - 2019
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"Connell Waldron is one of the most popular boys in his small-town high school--he is a star of the football team, an excellent student, and never wanting for attention from girls. The one thing he doesn't have is money. Marianne Sheridan, a classmate of Connell's, has the opposite problem. Marianne is plain-looking, odd, and stubborn, and while her family is well-off, she has no friends to speak of. There is, however, a deep and undeniable connection between the two teenagers, one that develops into a secret relationship. Everything changes when both Connell and Marianne are accepted to Trinity College. Suddenly Marianne is well-liked and elegant, holding court with her intellectual friends while Connell hangs at the sidelines, not quite as fluent in language of the elite. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle each other, falling in and out of romance but never straying far from where they started. And as Marianne experiments with an increasingly dangerous string of boyfriends, Connell must decide how far he is willing to go to save his oldest friend. Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a novel that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the inescapable challenges of family and friendships. Normal people is a book that you will read in one sitting, and then immediately share with your friends."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2019.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735276475
Branch Call Number: ROO
Characteristics: 273 pages


From Library Staff

Laura's Overdue Find - a mesmerizing read about two young adults whose lives stay unexpectedly intertwined as they grow up . Also available as an ebook and audiobook - check for it in our new Cloud Library app!

From the critics

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Oct 22, 2019

This book was infuriating... which, for me, means it is well worth the time investment. The way Rooney is able to clue the reader in with pseudo-psychological insights about these characters, had me attempting to guess their next steps, and hoping for the best, while ultimately becoming disappointment when their moves seemed predictable. Naturally it was a quick read. Two damaged kids from different backgrounds set in Ireland? Brace for tension.

Oct 15, 2019

Loved this book. Beautifully written character study that is impossible to put down. Touching and interesting.

Oct 05, 2019

I went back and forth on whether I was liking this book. I felt frustrated and annoyed for a lot of it, but perhaps I am too far from (or too close to?) that existential crisis/college time of life where trauma and mental illness are romanticized. I think the issues I have with the storyline and themes might just be a reflection of my own. I've landed on 4 stars because I really enjoyed Rooney's writing style and character development.

Sep 18, 2019

Really? Bestseller? Man Booker prize contender? What?!

It makes me sad to think that this is the Literature that excites now. If the Earth survives, I'd bet good money no one will be reading this book or even remember the name of it five years from now.

Sep 08, 2019

Story summarizes itself on p268 "...observe the chemistry between two people who, over the course of several years, apparently could not leave one another alone." From senior months of high school until completing college these 2 young people struggle with who they are - to themselves & each other.

ArapahoeAnnaL Sep 08, 2019

Can love heal childhood trauma? A book of tender, erotic love.

Sep 03, 2019

This is not a plot driven novel.
Otherwise ,It’s just a story of two immature teens who move into
Adulthood with a strong sexual attraction one to the other.
It’s strength lies in their psychological evolution:
Marianne presents as an unlikable character- but she is mostly unliked by herself.
She knows she is disliked, she encourages it and wears it as a kind of protective shroud-
Keeping others at bay from herself and her secrets..which are not revealed until near the end.
Connell who rides in and out of her life plays the rescuer; but he is constantly undone by Marianne’s insecurity and cannot erase her wounds.
Only one of them knows they are not Normal People while the other trys and fails to
Make it so.
Well done and in the company of Clare Messud’s The woman Upstairs,and Tessa Hadley’s
Late in the Day.

Sep 02, 2019

I don't get what all the fuss is about this book. I've lost interest half way through and probably won't finish it. Characters are well written but the plot is tedious.

Millennial writing in a setting that could only work in Ireland. Loraine is the sainted mother who loves both Connell and Marianne. Drinking, youthful promiscuity and classism underpin their lives as they scrabble through adolescence and finally find a solid footing after making all those scary existential choices demanded of them in their college years. Evocative and beautifully written. I look forward to more by this author.

JCLZachC Aug 16, 2019

I really like a lot of things about this novel. I like the unique rhythm the writing creates, how the non-use of quotations in dialogue gives the interactions an intimacy. I like the insightful light shined on the paradoxes of life, like the personal demons' that leave us longing to be normal.

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Age Suitability

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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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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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