Review: “Normal People” earns must-read status


In a graphic made on Canva by reviewer Neena Sidhu, the cover of the book “Normal People” by Sally Rooney is shown. The book was published in 2018. “I was surprised I liked this book, considering there aren’t shocking twists and turns,” Sidhu said. “‘Normal People’ is an easy read when looking for a book about an ordinary and realistic relationship.”

Every year, I make the same empty promises as a New Year’s resolution. This year, I was bound to change that unfulfilling destiny by setting a goal I wanted to complete – rather than setting one to say I did. So, I set a goal to read 23 books in 2023. So far, I have finished reading three books — “Ugly Love” by Colleen Hoover, “The Perfectionists” by Sara Shepard and “Normal People” by Sally Rooney. About 13% of my goal is completed, but one book, in particular, I can tell will be my favorite this year – and of all time.

“Normal People” is a book I just started because I had nothing better to do, and I heard some good things about it, but I ended up not being able to put it down.

Marianne, he said, I’m not a religious person but I do sometimes think God made you for me.

— Page 117


The book, published in 2018, follows the story of teenagers Marianne and Connell from high school through college. Connell — popular, well-liked and poor, was quite the opposite of Marianne, who was bullied and teased, but wealthy. They came from different backgrounds — family and financial-wise, which influenced some events pertaining to their relationship.

Despite their different backgrounds and personal struggles, Marianne and Connell “get” each other through a difficult time. In a non-traditional writing style, the book follows their secret (at times) and on-and-off relationship while other factors in their life change.

My thoughts

It’s funny the decisions you make because you like someone, he says, and then your whole life is different.

— Page 233

Because I’m used to reading action and drama-packed novels, I was surprised I liked this book, considering there aren’t shocking twists and turns. “Normal People” is an easy read when looking for a book about a, well, ordinary and realistic relationship.

I am fond of the writing style of Sally Rooney that I’ve experienced in some other books of hers, but I can see where people come from when they disapprove of the non-use of quotations, or how the time jumps back and forth. Personally, this style adds to the story itself, enhancing an ordinary plot. The absence of quotation marks for dialogue brings a very personal and intimate feel from the narrator to the reader, which I am a big fan of.

Most people go through their whole lives, without ever really feeling that close with anyone.

— Page 39

On the surface level, the plot and events do not seem significant. Still, Rooney’s writing really encapsulates the experience of people that age, especially the emotional depth that can be felt — and how others can get people through challenges like that.