Dem's Reviews > Normal People

Normal People by Sally Rooney
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did not like it
bookshelves: bookclub-reads

Man booker prize long list nominee and Costa book awards nominee This is a book that has many admirers and sadly it didn't work for me and while I would love to agree with all the judges on this one I only struggled to the end because it was a bookclub read. It is difficult to go against the grain on a book that is nominated for so many awards. So as always you need to judge for yourself because books fit people differently

Quite simply this book didn't Fit Me. I really have no interest in reading about 18-20 something year college kid's on/off sexual relationships where they seem to only exist in their own little complex bubble and this book felt like a bubble. It is described as "exquisite love stroy" which I honestly found nothing exquisite or no love in this one.

The characters of Connell and Marianne were dislikable and boring and the on / off, will they wont they "relationship" became repetitive reading. The only character which I liked and felt any connection with in the novel was Lorraine.

Perhaps this is more suited for a younger audience where they connect with the college scene or for readers who like complex relationship stories but for me this was a struggle from start to finish.
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Reading Progress

November 18, 2018 – Started Reading
November 18, 2018 – Shelved
November 23, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 176 (176 new)


message 1: by Phrynne (new)

Phrynne Good review but the book sounds awful. Don't think I will go there!!!


message 2: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan I just removed it from my list. Thanks for the review, Dem!


Aoife Pity that you didn’t like it. I’m long past being a college student but I thought this was a great book. To my mind there’s a lot more going on than an on-off relationship. I can’t disagree that there are times when I like neither protagonist though. A good read I thought 😊


message 4: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Thanks Phrynne and Lisa . This isn’t for me however do read the 4 and 5 star reviews as this book is getting great reviews and may fit other readers.


message 5: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Thank you Aoife and am glad of your comment as it’s always good to hear why a book that doesn’t work for one reader works for another. Some of our members liked this one too and will probably be an interesting book discussion on the night.


message 6: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Dem wrote: "Thanks Phrynne and Lisa . This isn’t for me however do read the 4 and 5 star reviews as this book is getting great reviews and may fit other readers."

Well I added it originally because it was getting such good reviews/ratings. But because of the details you gave I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy it.


Susanne  Strong Nice honest review Dem! I looked at this one several times on NG and something held me back.. now I know what it was! Sorry this was such a bad read for you! I hope you LOVE your next book!


message 8: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Thank you Susanne. I am listening to Becoming Becoming by Michelle Obama which is very interesting and easy to connect with.


Margo I agree Dem. Don't know what all the fuss is about.


message 10: by Peter (new) - added it

Peter Excellent review Dem and one I was thinking about reading until now. :):)


message 11: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Margo wrote: "I agree Dem. Don't know what all the fuss is about."

Thanks Margo I really don't feel so bad now ☺️


message 12: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Peter wrote: "Excellent review Dem and one I was thinking about reading until now. :):)"

Thanks Peter. Again different folks different strokes as you might find something different in this than me.


message 13: by Ali (new)

Ali Spot on! Great review and I totally see your point. I was circling around this book and the high scores were the main thing for me to put it onto my TBR shelf. Had my doubts about it though. So after going with a brush through my TBR last few days, I knocked it off the list. Not going to work for me either.


message 14: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Ali wrote: "Spot on! Great review and I totally see your point. I was circling around this book and the high scores were the main thing for me to put it onto my TBR shelf. Had my doubts about it though. So aft..."

Thank you Ali, its difficult to take off books off our TBR lists but I do it regularly too and I buy physical copies of my books which is expensive so I am careful what I read and a great book for me has to needs to tick all the boxes.


message 15: by sue (new) - added it

sue Sitting on my bedside, need to read! Fab review!


message 16: by Felicia (new)

Felicia Oh no I'm soooo happy I passed on this one. Thanks for taking one for the team, Dem 💖


message 17: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Thank you Sue and look forward to your thoughts.


message 18: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Felicia wrote: "Oh no I'm soooo happy I passed on this one. Thanks for taking one for the team, Dem 💖"

Thank you Felicia, I need to engage with books and just didnt with this one,


message 19: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ My thoughts too on why i decided not to read this.


message 20: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Thanks Diane. I think we get to a stage as readers when we know what works for us.


message 21: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ So true!


Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters Sorry Dem! expressed well and honest!
I still want to read it. ( guilty pleasure). I have the physical book - I got it for a $1 at a library sale in Fort Mason in San Francisco. I loved her other book and enjoyed her writing.

Hope you’re enjoying your holiday season!


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

Dem Thank you Elyse. Yes, I can see if you enjoyed Conversations with Friends you will love this one. I will look forward to your thoughts when you read it and lucky you getting it for $1. I knew going into this one it wasn't going to be my sort of book but that is the good thing about bookgroup reads as they steer you in a different direction and sometimes it works and other times it's a complete car wreck. Hope you had a great holiday, We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland but we have the hyped Black Friday event. 😢


Michael I read the synopsis for this book, on the back cover. It sounded like a generic character piece. I couldn't tell what the new element this book offered would be?


message 25: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Michael wrote: "I read the synopsis for this book, on the back cover. It sounded like a generic character piece. I couldn't tell what the new element this book offered would be?"

This is exactly how I felt when this one came up as bookclub read Michael.


Sheila Happy I'm not the only one for whom this book just didn't work.


message 27: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Sheila wrote: "Happy I'm not the only one for whom this book just didn't work."


Thank you Sheila. Difficult to review a book that is receiving so many awards however we all react differently and just didn't work for us.


Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters So curious?? Is your Black Friday the day after our American Thanksgiving?
With our daughter now living in Canada - she was bummed- because she likes Thanksgiving gathering ... and she moved there AFER Canada had theirs. ( in October)...
The trip to Canada was great - off to Cancun for 2 weeks tomorrow for our 40th.

Two standouts for me in Canada :
1- THE FRESH AIR ... sooo amazing -I loved it. Especially after the toxic air quality we lived through for a solid week from the fire in Paradise, California.
and...
2- the TAP water was DELICIOUS to drink and SAFE.
Those days are long gone in the states.

How about in Ireland? Do people drink bottled water? Or is your tap yummy?


message 29: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Our Black Friday is indeed after your thanksgiving day Elyse and Canada sounds fabulous and hope you have a fantastic time in Cancun celebrating your 40th and lovely way to mark it too. We were in California last year just after the fires and were shocked at the devastation caused and this year it seems way worse and so many people affected. Yes we still have drinkable Tap water although bottle water is just as popular.


Sylvia Seemed to deal a lot with depression, but not in an interesting way. I didn't care about either character or what happened to them.


message 31: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Sylvia wrote: "Seemed to deal a lot with depression, but not in an interesting way. I didn't care about either character or what happened to them."

Thanks Sylvia. Hope your next read is better.


Ashleigh C Much agreed. I really wanted to like and enjoy this book and quite frankly it was the worst book I have read all year. I found the writing disjointed, the characters dull and contradictory and the conclusion more than disappointing!!


message 33: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane Dem, you nailed precisely for me. Agree completely.


message 34: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Ashleigh wrote: "Much agreed. I really wanted to like and enjoy this book and quite frankly it was the worst book I have read all year. I found the writing disjointed, the characters dull and contradictory and the ..."

Not a prize winner for us Ashleigh but hope your next read is a 5 star one.


message 35: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Jane wrote: "Dem, you nailed precisely for me. Agree completely."

Thanks Jane as it's difficult to to go against the grain but this one just didn't do anything for me.


Pavan Amara You wrote up my feelings on this book EXACTLY. So glad others didn’t get it! Everyone seems to be raving about it, but I didn’t fit with it either. I love this review - it feels like all the thoughts I had whilst reading it, but beautifully summarised!


Mihaela Sorlea Tentis Honestly, felt the same... some people might like it but this was definitely not my type.


message 38: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Thank you so much Pavan and it is difficult to dislike a book so many are loving and it’s nice to know other readers feel the same and thank you for commenting. Hope your next read is a 5 star.


message 39: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Thanks Michaela. I did it for book club read so will be quite interesting to see how much discussion is in this one.


message 40: by Cathal (new)

Cathal Kenneally I had been considering reading this book but I think you’re appraisal is enough to make me rethink


message 41: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Cathal wrote: "I had been considering reading this book but I think you’re appraisal is enough to make me rethink"


Just wasn't for me Cathal, but you never know how others react.


Ova - Excuse My Reading Totally agree. It was a waste of time for me, just endless whining about a dysfunctional relationship


message 43: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Ova - wrote: "Totally agree. It was a waste of time for me, just endless whining about a dysfunctional relationship"

Thanks Ova, yes it's the whining that bugged me too and thanks for your comment here's hoping your next one is a 5 Star read for you.


Cheryl I completely agree! Struggled to the end and was then deeply disappointed. Couldn’t gel with any characters and couldn’t understand the motivator of her family, I kept expecting it to be explained but wasn’t? Also, her whole personality changed several times through book and not discussed/explained? Just awful


message 45: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Thanks Cheryl, this was a book club choice for 12 of us so will be interesting to see how much discussion this one gets.


message 46: by Henry (new) - rated it 1 star

Henry Great review, the book made feel so old


message 47: by Elke (new) - added it

Elke About 50 pages in, and just needed to check goodreads to see if anyone agreed with me hahahha. Not liking it so far. At all


nicole I agree. I kept thinking the ending will make up for the rest but it didn’t at all. Totally disappointed. It was a non event read for me


message 49: by Dem (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Henry wrote: "Great review, the book made feel so old"

Lol! Me too Henry. 😊


message 50: by Dem (last edited Feb 10, 2019 03:11PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Dem Elke wrote: "About 50 pages in, and just needed to check goodreads to see if anyone agreed with me hahahha. Not liking it so far. At all"

You are not alone Elke 😊


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