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Normal People – Sally Rooney

12th August 2020
normal people book cover


Normal People is a romance novel set in Ireland. I stumbled upon this book in a Goodreads newsletter and decided to give it a read. Furthermore, I also want to relax my mind after the taxing reading of Expected Returns.


Sally Rooney is an Irish author and screenwriter. She started her writing career with Conversations with Friends in 2017. Currently, she has only produced these two novels.


Normal People has 18 chapters. The chapters have no proper titles, only the amount of time passed since the previous chapter. It starts in January 2011 and ends in February 2015.


The protagonists in this book are Connell Waldron and Marianne Sheridan. They are from Carricklea, Ireland. The story mainly unfolds in Carricklea and Dublin.

Marianne is from a well-off family. Her parents are both solicitors but her father has passed away. Connell is from a single-parent household. His mother works as a part-time cleaner in Marianne’s house.

The story is mainly about the transitioning from teenager to adulthood. The two protagonists are searching for their identities in the world and trying to be normal people.

The story follows chronological order but there are some flashbacks in between. These events are generally not too far apart in time from the main story.

The author explores a few heavy topics in the book such as abuse, bullying, depression, and suicide. Nonetheless, the story has what I consider a happy ending. Though the future is uncertain, at least the two protagonists seem to be doing fine at the end of the story.

How do we define normal people? There is no absolute standard but depends on the society at that time. I guess everyone has some abnormal parts inside us but it is how we hide these parts that makes us appear normal. Perhaps it is easier if we are able to make peace with ourselves and care less about others’ opinions as long as we do not hurt anyone, including ourselves.


  1. Time consists of physics, money is just a social construct.
  2. Life is the thing you bring with you inside your own head.
  3. Cruelty does not only hurt the victim, but the perpetrator also, and maybe more deeply and more permanently.
  4. If people appeared to behave pointlessly in grief, it was only because human life was pointless, and this was the truth that grief revealed.
  5. People are a lot more knowable than they think they are.


3 out of 3 stars

Interested in Normal People?

You may get the book from through the links below*.

Print from Kinokuniya Malaysia

Ebook from

*Disclosure: The above link are affiliate links. Thus, I may earn a small commission when you purchase the book through the links.


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