"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, January 17, 2020

Review and quotes: NORMAL PEOPLE

Title: Normal People by Sally Rooney

Book Beginnings quote:
Marianne answers the door when Connell rings the bell. She's still wearing her school uniform, but she's taken off the sweater, so it just her blouse and skirt, and she has no shoes on, only tights.
Friday56 quote:
He kept thinking of himself saying to Marianne in bed: I love you. It was terrifying, like watching himself committing a crime on CCTV. And soon she wold be in school, putting her books in her bag, smiling to herself, never knowing anything. You're a nice person and everyone likes you. He took one uncomfortable breath and then threw up.
Summary: Marianne and Connell grow up in the same small town in Ireland and attend the same school but that is where the similarities end. She is rich but a loner while he is poor but popular. Connell's single mother cleans Marianne's house twice a week. In the first quote Connell is dropping by the house to pick up his mother after her shift is over. Because Connell is often in her house he and Marianne start to interact with one another, but at school they behave as if they don't know one  each other. Often what they talk about it grades because both of them are good at school and get top marks. At one point Marianne confesses that she likes Connell. This comment leads eventually to a whole clandestine sexual relationship between the teens, while they still maintain the rouse of not knowing each other while at school. In the second quote Connell's friends have been teasing him when he realizes what he's done. He's fallen in love with a social outcast. The thought makes him sick.

A year later Marianne and Connell are off to college in Trinity College in Dublin. After ending their "friendship" the two never see each other at college until they end up at the same party. Now Marianne is the popular person and Connell is the one who has trouble making friends. For the next several years their relationship waxes and wanes. they are drawn to each other and then break apart. Over and over. It also becomes evident that Marianne is becoming more and more destructive with her body and Connell is having trouble with his mental state. Can they save one another?

Review: I was pretty excited to read this book after I saw it on lots of end-of-2019-best-books lists. I thought it was a fun premise that the roles of these two "friends" would reverse after high school. What I wasn't prepared for was all the sex. Lots and lots of it. I kept checking to make sure the book was truly written by a woman because it seems like only a male author would be so obsessed with sex scenes. And then the sex morphed into sadomasochism. Thankfully, those bits aren't very graphic. As the story opens up we learn why Marianne expects to be dominated by men and it is a pretty sad situation.

I listened to the audiobook of Normal People read by Aoife McMann who has a lovely Irish brogue. I simply loved the listening experience. I also devoured the book. Though I was horrified by the negative turns the book took, I was compelled to listen as fast as I could which meant I sat for hours listening yesterday, barely moving a muscle. I thought the title 'Normal People' played a prominent theme in the book, which I like. I like figuring out why an author titles their work with a particular word or phrase. Will I recommend that my book club read this book? No. Will I tell others about it? Probably not. Did I like it? Yes, sort of. There, I am like Marianne and Connell. My relationship with this book will remain a secret.

Oh, by the way, I just noticed that Hulu will be running a TV series of the book this spring. Last chance to read it before it hits the airwaves.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
Th
e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material.

PS. Candyce at The Book Duchesses: I cannot make comments on your blog. I have tried and tried several different times and different ways. Maybe put clearer directions on your blog how to join or open up your blog just a bit to allow other bloggers to comment on your posts.
-Anne

23 comments:

  1. I am glad that you found this one enjoyable! I am definitely intrigued to watch the show on Hulu. It will be interesting to see how these characters are presented on the screen. Have a great weekend. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I'll look for the Hulu version of the show, too. Expect lots of ex or at least references to it!

      Delete
  2. I'm pulled right in! Happy weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds good. I'm glad you like the audio version. I should put this one on my wish list.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So interesting. I've just read a couple books set in Ireland and enjoyed them though they focused on The Troubles. This sounds good, but a warning about graphic sex and sadomasochism is good to know going in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is surprising how much of their relationship centers on sex. Thanks for helping me with the spelling! Wink-wink.

      Delete
  5. Okay, so when I caught a sexual vibe about the description of her clothing in the beginning quote, it was not so far off. Hum. Thank you for being up front about the content.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that I reread the first line I do catch the sexual vibe of having some of her clothes off. In other words, be prepared for lots of clothes coming off.

      Delete
  6. I didn't really like the book as much as I'd hoped for, but I couldn't stop reading it, either. LOL. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had hoped that this would become a book club selection. But, nope. I will not recommend it.

      Delete
  7. Sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I haven't heard of this one before. I'm glad it was enthralling, even if not wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds like a different and interesting read.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ooh, I've heard of this book before. I didn't realize Hulu was making a show of it. Doesn't sound like a book for me, since I don't generally like a lot of sex scenes, but I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hmm, I might not pick this up at that bit of news.... If I do though I'd listen to the audio.

    Lauren @ Always Me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good plan. The Irish brogue was lovely even if the topic was dark.

      Delete
  12. I've never heard of it! I think we'll get enough talk of sex in our "Three Women" book. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't read Three Women yet. If it has sadomasochism I'll pitch it. Not my thing.

      Delete
  13. Thanks for posting this on Book Beginnings. I keep seeing this book on Instagram and have been intrigued by it. But now it doesn't sound like I would probably want to read it. My job is working with adults who were sexually abused as children and this sounds like it might be too much like my work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right. I wish I'd read a few reviews before I launched into it. I would have avoided it, too, if I'd known about the destructive sex.

      Delete
  14. "And then the sex morphed into sadomasochism" WHUT.

    Honestly, I just saw your "read my review before you decide to read it" warning on a more recent post and clicked to find out more while thinking, "hah, bet it's for something that would be totally innocuous to me," but NO. This is, in fact, exactly the kind of warning I find most important and will take to heart. I can't believe it managed to start at "lots of sex scenes" and still get WORSE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. I felt ripped off that I didn't know about this before I started reading the book. Glad you took my warning to heart.

      Delete

Your turn. Please comment below.