After reading about Sally Rooney everywhere, I decided to give her books a go. I started with her new release Normal People and immediately ordered her debut novel after only being 30 pages in. Her writing is so unique and different from other people’s. You get absorbed into her atmosphere and the characters are just so well constructed that you feel compelled to know more about them. And this is true of both novels. Normal People and Conversations with Friends are very quick reads because you just can’t help it, they are amazing. I’m already hoping for another book from her.
Normal people is the story of Marianne and Connell, who both live in a small town of Ireland. They have a special relationship with each other, but no one knows about it because Marianne is considered the “weird” girl at school and Connell is popular. The dynamic is reversed once they enter University and the book follows the way their relationship changes but how they are always drawn to each other no matter the situation. Rooney won the Man Booker Prize Award for this novel and she absolutely deserves it. Normal People touches on domination, abuse, love, privilege and feeling like you have a place in the world. I would say this is the best fiction book I have read this year.
Conversations with Friends
For me, this story was a little harder to get into at the beginning (compared to Normal People), but then I just couldn’t close the book. Conversations with Friends follows Frances, a twenty-one-year old student, writer and poet and her friend Bobby around the time when they meet Melissa and her husband Nick. Bobby is drawn to Melissa and Frances to Nick and they start this complicated relationship with their new acquaintances, which ultimately affects their original friendships. There is only one word to describe the book and it is ‘disorienting’. I loved the rhythm and the detailed descriptions but the storyline made me feel quite uncomfortable at times. But isn’t it what literature is all about? It touched on family troubles, health issues, youth, the bonds you have with people, and so much more.
I urge you to get a copy of both of these books and let me know what you think about them!