Normal People by Sally Rooney

I’ve been reading a lot this past winter break. A lot of non-fiction at first, but quite a bit of fiction in the last few days. The most notable fiction novel that stood out to me was Normal People. Though still a book with a number of faults, I think it was interesting enough to capture my attention and make me think a little more about my own life and the world around me. It’s not your typical love story, but it still firmly encompasses the idea of love.

Normal People deals with love in a way that is both familiar, yet foreign to me at the same time. The two protagonists, Connell and Marianne, spend the entire book dancing the fine line between a close friendship and something a little more. Though unrelatable in many ways, I found myself able to sympathize heavily with some of their frustrations and thoughts.

In one scene, Connell realizes that he is unsure of what he is allowed to enjoy about Marianne as a friend. Having spent ample time on both sides, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to toe the line between platonic friendship and romantic relationship successfully. The love that the book explored reached further than just that of romance however; relationships play a greater role in life than just romance and the book showcased that as well. Marianne wonders to herself whether or not people should be running away from each other, fearful of the codependence that inevitably appears whenever people grow attached. It’s a difficult topic to debate and one that has surfaced in my mind more times than I would care to admit in the past seven or so years of my life. Relationships with people are fickle; they are often the greatest source of both joy and sorrow, and for that reason, I am often scared to cultivate them.

All in all, it was a fascinating story to me. Not exactly what I would call a light read, but if one is looking for a real, “raw” take on a bond between two people, Normal People may be the right book.