Normal People by Sally Rooney (2019)

This story of a strange relationship follows two young people from high school—in their small town in Ireland—through Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne is a loner from a wealthy but emotionally empty family. Connell is the popular kid from a poor, single parent family filled with love and honesty. Both are super smart. And this is their on again/off again relationship of love/sex/friendship/dependence filled with awkward moments, tender moments, and moments where I shook my head trying to understand them. They don’t know what—or who—they are, but I suppose like so many people, they’re stumbling through life and school trying to figure it out. It’s interesting and a bit weird—especially Marianne and her family background that hints at physical and emotional abuse, but doesn’t delve much, leaving the reader to wonder what exactly she experienced at home that created great damage. A quick, thought-provoking read. Maybe young adult level, but enjoyable for adults (and parents) and well.

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