Normal People by Sally Rooney

This novel by Sally Rooney, received widespread praise as it became a best seller in the US.  It’s coming of age narrative amasses a large following as its appeal spans across a wide variety of people.  Normal People received much praise quickly after its’ release and was additionally adapted into a TV series on BBC and Hulu.  This and much more makes it a must read regardless of who you are.

The novel, set in Ireland, follows the story of Marianne Sheridan and Connell Waldron.  Coming from two seemingly different worlds, the two find themselves caught in a relationship wrought with the challenges of different upbringings.  The novel follows the main characters for four years and allows a close look into the social hierarchy of young adulthood.  Wealth disparity and emotional intelligence are key factors in this novel that bring secrecy and disagreement into their relationship with one another and the world around them.

Normal People allows for a 21st century approach to these topics as gender plays little factor in the insecurities and emotional communications of the main characters.   Watching these young adults navigate such personal problems alongside this modern backdrop is a breakthrough in this genre.  Intimate topics faced within young adulthood are discussed with ease while paralleled with heavy and pressing matters of the world around them.

While this novel deals with difficult issues that are likely to tear on a heartstring, the overall tone is much more positive.  It gives holistically a realistic and hopeful view that leaves readers with the lesson of finding happiness despite the trials of life.

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