Book Group discussion of “Normal People” by Sally Rooney.
The discussion leader had a way of making you wish you had seen more in a book than you did. She told us about 30 year old author Sally Rooney, who seems to have written about a place she was familiar with, that is, Trinity College Dublin, even if she did not go through the same experiences as the main characters in Normal People. The discussion leader said that you needed to invest in Marianne and Connell as they were such an integral part of the novel. She thought that the couple needed to be believable even as they aged and that they should be people you cared about. Some of the group felt that the story was a bit repetitive, others that there was too much sex and some that the violence within Marianne’s sexual relationships was very unpleasant to read. There was some discussion about whether the book was not universally appreciated because Marianne and Connell were not of a generation we are familiar with, although we were once that young and the themes of ‘fitting in’, ‘feeling unworthy’, and ‘misunderstanding the feelings of others’ are ones we recognise. Others have gone on to read other books by the same author and felt she deserved the literary awards she has received.