The Eagle’s Cry Reviews: Normal People


Author Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel, Normal People, received endless praise on social media platforms, and its popularity has only grown since the 2020 film adaptation was released, starring Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar Jones. But, does Normal People live up to the extremely high expectations of readers?

Set in Ireland, Normal People follows an ever-changing relationship between classmates Connell Waldron and Marianne Sheridan. At the start of the novel, the two seem to be polar opposites. Marianne comes from an extremely wealthy family, while Connell lives with his lower class single mother. Connell is popular and well liked among his classmates, but Marianne is seen as a social outcast. Despite their differences, Marianne and Connell begin to discover that they have more in common than it may appear at first glance. The unlikely pair eventually fall into an on-again-off-again relationship. 

Normal People is unique in the fact that there are no quotation marks used which blurs the line between what is said and what remains unsaid. Rooney’s artistic choice perfectly represents the pair’s biggest flaw: miscommunication. Throughout the five year period the novel spans, readers watch Marianne and Connell struggle on their paths to self discovery as they enter adulthood in a truly authentic manner.

Junior Julianna Guarino says, “The book shows a realistic experience of two normal people…it is perfect in every aspect, but so heartbreaking.”

 Normal People is not a typical romance or coming of age novel. Oftentimes, mainstream romance novels write relationships to be perfect and easy. Normal People is not a fairytale love story. Marianne and Connell’s relationship is organic and realistic. They both struggle with mental health disorders and unsettled past trauma. This novel is  beautifully written because it portrays realistic relationships with raw emotion throughout the countless inevitable obstacles that life entails. Marianne and Connell show readers what it truly means to be a “normal person.” Normal people are flawed and complex, but that is exactly what makes the human experience beautiful.