One of the most daunting and unanswered questions we face in life is this: How do we love?
We find it daunting, because it is
unanswered, and we find it unanswered because there isn’t one set way to love. What I found fascinating about Normal People is how it provides a very mundane commentary on that question. Through different aspects that affect both main characters, we learn something more as to why love cannot truly be defined. In the novel, the sophomore novel of brilliant Irish writer Sally Rooney, we meet Connell and Marianne; two 18 year olds navigating their last year at school and their budding relationship with regards to their statuses. From there, we see them grow into young adults whose lives aren’t simple, and whose paths cross when they least expect it. It could be taken as a love story, but I think it goes deeper than that. It discusses modern issues such as the class system, and privilege, and does so in a mature way. It is a revolutionary novel. It is one of those books that doesn’t feel like a story; a book that speaks to you, and on your darkest days, a book that understands. In my eyes, it is most definitely Rooney’s current magnum opus (and I say current because we have yet to read what she will produce next!)
What I loved about Normal People is that Rooney lets us, the readers, understand that love is complicated, and love is sometimes hurtful but that doesn’t mean it isn’t love. Because love, sometimes, can be beautiful.
If you haven’t read it, I would definitely encourage you to. It’s just under 300 pages and is so incredibly worth it. And if you have read the book, and are searching for more Sally Rooney, you could always read her debut, Conversations With Friends. I guarantee you’ll love it!