Normal People

Normal People Summary

NOW AN EMMY-NOMINATED HULU ORIGINAL SERIES • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A stunning novel about the transformative power of relationships” (People) from the author of Conversations with Friends, “a master of the literary page-turner” (J. Courtney Sullivan).

TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—People, Slate, The New York Public Library, Harvard Crimson

AND BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York TimesThe New York Times Book Review, O: The Oprah Magazine, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, Vogue, Esquire, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire, Vox, The Paris Review, Good Housekeeping, Town & Country

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can’t.
Praise for Normal People
“[A] novel that demands to be read compulsively, in one sitting.”The Washington Post

“Arguably the buzziest novel of the season, Sally Rooney’s elegant sophomore effort . . . is a worthy successor to Conversations with Friends. Here, again, she unflinchingly explores class dynamics and young love with wit and nuance.”The Wall Street Journal

“[Rooney] has been hailed as the first great millennial novelist for her stories of love and late capitalism. . . . [She writes] some of the best dialogue I’ve read.”The New Yorker

Book Reviews


Should’ve been called useless people3 star

I was into this book until the end when it seemed like the author just gave Connell a free pass from all the hurt he inflicted upon Marianne. He used her for sex and was at times kind of repulsed by her but yet he kept going back to her when he needed something emotionally. He was ashamed of her and made her feel bad about herself over and over again. It was a very messed up relationship. He was not a good person. He was weak, wish washy and a coward and just fell into things instead of actively going after things with a goal. And yet the author actually wants us to view him as some kind of savior to Marianne just because he threatened her brother. Sorry you don’t get absolution from YEARS of knowingly outright emotionally abusing someone from one act. Marianne was very mentally unstable (I can only deduce that it was due to sexual abuse from her father which made her mother blame her and treat her terribly. Her brother abused her emotionally and physically but not quite clear if there was also sexual abuse towards her along the way - not sure because the author never explains. The mother is pretty much absent throughout the book and the father has long since died so we are given nothing to work with there and thusly must draw our own conclusions). Marianne feels she deserves to be mistreated in every way by everyone she comes in contact with. This was a tough read due to all those issues. You can only endure so much soul crushing negativity before you feel like you have to save yourself. I wish I could scrub my mind from some of the stuff in this book. This is basically just two damaged people who inflict their extreme dysfunction on one another over and over ad naseum. Finally it appears that Connell may be getting on with his life but next thing you know he and Marianne are living together and everything is perfect (how?! She all of a sudden woke up one day and said ya know I should be useful and get a job and try to function in the world like other people? So ridiculous! She needed a lot of therapy and medication and yet nope! She just fixes herself?! Why then? Why not before then? So bizarre) until the author can’t help herself and she throws these two into another conundrum where they can’t quite get on the same page. At some point you gotta move on and these two just can’t quit one another. If you’re a miserable person with no redeeming qualities this might be the book for you. Everyone else - find something different. This will only leave you infuriatingly frustrated.35


Better the second time I read it5 star

Something about her writing just speaks to me. I reread it in one night a few months later and liked it even more55

Aaron pizza!!

boring2 star

I felt like I was waiting for something big to happen the entire book.25

Lyss R.

Absolutely Stunning5 star

Sally Ronney’s style is something completely apart. This story is one that stays with me. I loved every word.55

Ramsey B.

Great book!5 star

Great all the way through, ending will stick with me.55


2 stars bcs i feel bad2 star

Please don't waste your time. I'm not convinced this many people love this book? Don't even know what the 2 stars im giving is for, probably just because I like the main characters. Other than that this was a total failure I had to force myself to finish it.. From the writing style first, it was giving i want to be creative but not sure how. Nothing interesting at all happens? Mental health is barely mentioned like what's even the point of the story? Why mention the main character's struggling while ignoring the important parts lile abuse? Depression? Talked abt in like 5 pages lol. Characters poorly described too , it's like the writer herself doesn't knw what their personalities are. The ending was so badly written and boring!25


This book touched my heart5 star

The author shows very expertly how hard it is to overcome childhood emotional abuse, even if you have money and seemingly everything else that you can wish for. You will enjoy the book if you feel that most humans are broken but sometimes we can heal.55


😭😭😭😭5 star

I loved it from start to finish. Had some dull moments but I think it still made me love the book more, weirdly. The story is really really relatable- at least for me. I found myself in both characters. The ending is ok, very ambiguous. Still touched and tugged me at the heart strings. Honestly did not want the story to end.55


Sally Rooney does it again5 star

Another book that took my heart and spit it up into pieces. I love her writing. I can understand it isn’t for everyone, but it’s truly my favorite.55


3.5/44 star

Normal People is a surprisingly emotional book. While the writing seems stiff at times what I loved about this book was how I felt while reading. Rooney succeeds at pulling me into the world of the novel and in a relatively short number of pages makes the characters feel very alive. Both of the main characters are deeply flawed and Rooney wastes no time revealing their painful limitations and exploring the effect they have on one another’s lives. It might not be an instant classic, but it’s an interesting story that moves forward at a startling pace. By the time I got to the end of this book I had a feeling the resolution that I was rooting for would not be the ending. I was still almost compelled to read because I just really loved both of these characters despite their flaws.45

Other Books by Sally Rooney

Conversations with Friends


Conversations with Friends
4     1383
Beautiful World, Where Are You


Beautiful World, Where Are You
3.5     763
Six Shorts 2017


Six Shorts 2017
3.5     40

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