Esil's Reviews > Conversations with Friends

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
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A very tepid 3 stars. Conversations with Friends is another one of those books about not particularly nice people entangled in awkward relationships. I've certainly read many books of this nature that I've found clever and quite enjoyed, but this one was just ok. Frances and Bobbi -- both young women who used to be in a relationship with each other -- become entangled with somewhat older heterosexual couple Nick and Melissa. It's all told from Frances' perspective. She doesn't seem to be able to figure out what she wants. Nor does anyone else. It gets messy and it stays pretty messy. I was attracted to this one partially because it is set in Dublin, but it could have been anywhere in North America or Europe. I'm at a low three stars because I did enjoy the the first half of Conversations with Friends, but my enjoyment started to wane in the second half. Frances' inner gaze and self-centredness started to feel suffocating. I don't have much more to say. Time to move on to something that makes me less grumpy. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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Reading Progress

March 21, 2017 – Shelved
March 21, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
March 21, 2017 – Shelved as: netgalley
June 3, 2017 – Started Reading
June 9, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 55 (55 new)


message 1: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Great review, Esil! I hope your next read cheers you up :)


Esil Deanna wrote: "Great review, Esil! I hope your next read cheers you up :)"

Thanks Deanna! Me too :)


message 3: by Iris P (new)

Iris P A balanced review Esil. Hope you're finding your next read much more rewarding :)


Esil Iris P wrote: "A balanced review Esil. Hope you're finding your next read much more rewarding :)"

Thanks Iris. I am reading a really good book now.


message 5: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan Nice review Esil !!


message 6: by Cheri (new)

Cheri Terrific review, Esil! Everything that needed to be said, at least for me! I *was* interested in this primarily as it is set in Dublin... I'll have to be content with the ones I've read set in Ireland so far this year!


Elyse  Walters A wonderful UN-suffocating Review:). XO


message 8: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Masterson Great review, Esil!


Esil Megan wrote: "Nice review Esil !!"

Thanks Megan!


message 10: by Esil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Esil Cheri wrote: "Terrific review, Esil! Everything that needed to be said, at least for me! I *was* interested in this primarily as it is set in Dublin... I'll have to be content with the ones I've read set in Irel..."

Thanks Cheri. I'll have to find some good books set in Dublin that give me a sense of the place.


message 11: by Esil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Esil Elyse wrote: "A wonderful UN-suffocating Review:). XO"

Thanks Elyse! Hope all is well with you. We're having nice summer weather in Toronto this weekend!


message 12: by Esil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Esil Jennifer wrote: "Great review, Esil!"

Thanks Jennifer.


Bianca I hope your next read is more enjoyable.


message 14: by Debbie (new) - added it

Debbie Good review for what sounds like a bad read. Hope your next one is better.


message 15: by Larry (new)

Larry H Sorry you didn't enjoy this too much, Esil, but I liked your review! I also appreciate that you did the legwork so I don't have to read this now, since I was intrigued before! :)


message 16: by Esil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Esil Bianca wrote: "I hope your next read is more enjoyable."

Thanks Bianca. I'm reading a pretty grim book about women in Saudi Arabia, but it's got me far more interested that this one did.


message 17: by Esil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Esil Debbie wrote: "Good review for what sounds like a bad read. Hope your next one is better."

Thanks Debbie. As mentioned to Bianca, it is although my reading time is greatly reduced right now. It should pick up in the summer.


message 18: by Esil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Esil Larry wrote: "Sorry you didn't enjoy this too much, Esil, but I liked your review! I also appreciate that you did the legwork so I don't have to read this now, since I was intrigued before! :)"

Thanks Larry. We don't always agree but my guess is that might have a similar reaction to this one.


Carol (Bookaria) I felt the same about this book


message 20: by Esil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Esil Carol (Bookaria) wrote: "I felt the same about this book"

Glad I wasn't alone, Carol :)


message 21: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy This perfectly sums up how I felt about this book. I almost gave it only 2 stars, however, I did enjoy the first half much more than the second. By the end, I just wanted it to be done.


Laurie Timm I agree with Esil’s review completely. I enjoyed the way it was written - however The story lacked a lot.


message 23: by Joy (new) - rated it 1 star

Joy I’m currently on chapter 12 and very concerned by the posts stating the 1st half was better than the 2nd. I was hoping it would improve from here. Guess not. I’m not sure I’ll bother picking it back up again.


message 24: by Ruth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruth Walker I like like book more than the others. I found the characters ambivalence about themselves and each other to be realistic. I agree Dublin was not utilized as much it could have been. I guess I am of the age where a view into mind of a college student was refreshing though Frances self destructive behavior and apathy was alarming to read. Obviously she was a beautiful intelligent girl who should have been having a whole lot more fun!


message 25: by A (new) - rated it 3 stars

A Drill I agree with Esil. Meh.


Virginia Yes, that pretty much summed it up for me as well.


Barbara Sigh - I knew I'd read tepid reviews but my contemporary Irish fiction book club chose it against my advice.


Patricia Donnelly Mixed feelings about this book. Enjoyed the style of writing but found myself continuously thinking why does the main character Frances put herself through such torture. Halfway through decision time abandon or finish it. Hung in there but it felt flat.


Barbara Esil- I’ll have to come up with a list of Dublin books for you!


Sarah Very accurate review.


Valerie Agree with this review.


Louise Muddle I agree! All that not telling people how she felt or what was wrong with her was just bloody infuriating!


Jules Agree with this review. I found the character Frances utterly shallow by the end of this book. It’s meant to be so much better but it seemed very chick-lit to me and in the worst possible way. I have just finished the book - my review is to follow.


message 34: by Eithar (new)

Eithar Can you suggest the best clever book from the ones you've read previously?


Heather Wood I agree. It peaked about 2/3s way in, and went downhill. I left feeling disappointed 😂


message 36: by Sonya Reilly (new)

Sonya Reilly Hated this book so much I didn’t want to finish it but persevered anyway. Didn’t like or identify with the characters or this writers style - definitely one of my least favourite reads of the past year


Grantsweet I just finished this book.Its a total torture to me .


message 38: by Stanko (new) - added it

Stanko Ah , exactly my problem with Normal People.. her new book. And yet, the fact that the writing has a ring of honesty allows me to appreciate it somewhat. Understanding the inner narratives of a group of people I would never get to associate with in the first place.


Janine It seems you all have forgotten the angst of insecure youth. What more can I say - Frances was emotionally underdeveloped and obviously never shown a proper loving relationship within her small family unit. It left me with hope that she WILL work it out though, and be alright.
Another point is that one has to be in a certain mood to read introspective stories like this...just my opinion.


Marissa Hamera Agreed!


Stuart Cohn An enjoyable read, actually, but it made me relieved that I'm not a young person anymore, happy that the ebbs and flows of my emotional life are no longer so "earth shattering."


Loosh I agree ! She was very all over the place and could not decided what she wanted or who she wanted. I really hoped that by the end she would have resolved some of her issues but instead things just became bleak. I guess that’s a good deception of what reality is like when trying to solve your problems, that you don’t just solve all your problems after having an epiphany in a church.


message 43: by Dave (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dave I felt almost exactly the same about the book. I sometimes feel bad about not reviewing favourably because of disagreeable or hard to like characters but I also think the book just became dull and repetitive which is a bad sign for a shortish text


message 44: by Dave (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dave I felt almost exactly the same about the book. I sometimes feel bad about not reviewing favourably because of disagreeable or hard to like characters but I also think the book just became dull and repetitive which is a bad sign for a shortish text


message 45: by Amie (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amie Hellauer I didn’t enjoy this book. With that being said, I had to keep reading to find out what would happen. The characters did not draw me in and I had no great affinity or regard for any of them.


Lyndsay Nicholson I enjoyed this book and did feel for frances, she is young with little life or love experience. It was a strange web they where all in. I didn’t want to put the book Down. I think we can all relate to be young, naive and having big emotions at that age. I will certainly be reading Sally Rooney’s other book.


Karen Park I love your review. "Nice people entangle with awkward relationship" is a perfect conclusion to this book.


Martha Thank you for expressing my feelings about this book. Maybe I'm too old to enjoy this modern love story, but all 4 main characters were unlikable and eventually annoying. They all seem bent on avoiding traditional relationships as outdated, oppressive, patriarchal, or Whatever. Then they're so surprised when they end up feeling jealous, angry, and miserable. So much angst and intellectual competition and pretension. I was exhausted by the effort it took to keep up with all the navel gazing.


Mitzi Moore After I finished this book, which left me with the same impression, I read God Help the Child by Toni Morrison and it was a refreshing contrast.


message 50: by Nina (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nina I completely agree with this review. Well said


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