After several days of absolute pouring rain we are finally having a couple of lovely winter days with full sunshine. Ollie and I went to the dog beach yesterday and he had a lovely time.
I finished Normal People by Sally Rooney. Our book group was to have discussed it last month but we are not meeting now so I was late reading it. I didn’t really want to read it as I’ve heard both negative and positive reviews about it. It’s not a long book so I picked it up to see what all the fuss is about it since I had it. I have to say it was not a book I loved but I can see why some others loved it. The story is about Marianne who is a rich high school/college girl who lives in Sligo, Ireland then goes to Trinity college in Dublin. She comes from a wealthy family of her mother who ignores her and her older brother who is quite abusive. She lives in her own world and has no friends and states she doesn’t need them. She doesn’t care of about high school or the people in it but she is very bright. She meets Connor. Connor’s mother Lorraine cleans for Marianne’s household. Because Marianne is so ostracised at school Connor does not let on they know each other much less see each other. They develop a very long standing intimate relationship but nobody knows about it except Connor’s mother who likes Marianne and leaves him to it.
The story continues. Both are well read and exceedingly bright and though Connor comes from a poorer background he gets a scholarship to go to Trinity and their saga continues in Dublin. Then we get new boyfriends and new girlfriends although the two of them always seem to love each other.
I grew very weary of this relationship. Some of the positive points of the book to me were I liked Connor’s character and his mother Lorraine. I think they were the best developed characters. Marianne annoyed me beyond belief. We begin to see her mental instability as the book continues and even understanding that I didn’t feel anything for her. I could say the book is plot driven because all of the other characters including friends at Trinity and back in Sligo were not really developed. It becomes more apparent as we continue Marianne wants to be physically and mentally hurt by her boyfriends and then by others as well. She doesn’t have much self esteem by the end.
The main things that bothered me about this book:
The writing in the first half of the book was poor. I kept thinking “where on earth was the editor” with these sentences? I thought the writing became stronger towards the last of the book. It settled. There were so many inconsistencies with the book. Marianne seemed strong in herself at the beginning. By the end she is like an entirely different person. I know everyone changes during that age group but her basic nature wasn’t the same.
The store of the relationship of Marianne and Connor drags…..and drags…..and drags….. It is very repetitious. It is very predictable. I was going to give it up about 60 or 70% of the way through but I was curious how this book would end. When the ending came it is incredibly unsatisfying and open to interpretation as to how one feels about the entire story. I kind of thought, “right, they have left the way open for a sequel.” That was my first thought. My second thought is if there is a sequel I won’t be looking at it.
A series has evidently been made of this book and some viewers in the United States have viewed it. I haven’t seen it here on any thing I have access to but I don’t think I could bare to watch it.
My other thought was if I was in the ages between 16 and 25 I’d probably have loved the angst of this story and the relationship and wondering about all the options available to them and how it would work out. I wouldn’t have cared that the writing wasn’t that great. There are a couple of vloggers I came across on You Tube that are in their 20’s and they rave about it. In fact three of them got together and had a Normal People day where they all sat down in their respective homes one day and read it together then talked about it that evening.
But as an older person I found the book tedious and done before a hundred different ways and I expect and enjoy better writing these days. I guess you could say I’m much more discerning as you might expect a person to be who’s been reading more than 60+ years.
Would I recommend this book to others? No. There is plenty more out there to read that’s enjoyable unless you’re 16 and having boyfriend problems as there are many lessons one that age could learn as to what a relationship should be about. As there are so many examples in this book about what a relationship shouldn’t be about. If that makes sense.
I was going to share a second book with you today but I won’t as I think this post is long enough and I don’t like to make them too long.
Instead I will post up a couple of photos from Ollie and I at the beach yesterday. I’ll write about the second book I received from the library this week in a day or two. I hope everyone is having a good weekend.