The Haunting “What if?”: Review on Normal People by Sally Rooney

By Fátima Vargas-López

Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico

Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal in the 2020 television adaption of the novel (Photo Credit: Hulu)

Life is funny. It makes us fall in love with whom we should not and when we should not, puts us in the place where we are not supposed to be. This feeling of life playing tricks on us is perfectly captured in Sally Rooney’s second novel, Normal People.


The book tells the story of a young unstable couple, Marianne and Connell. It follows them through their ups and downs, along with their changing power dynamics, from their acquaintance in high school through all their college years. The novel manages to hook you in and see yourself in the protagonists. Brilliantly acknowledging its title, Rooney makes the characters face common difficulties in relationships. She writes it so we might see fears or habits that live deep within ourselves.


Skeptics may disagree, but love makes the world go round. The connection we have with other people and how that affects us is what builds our character. However, love is also cruel and unpunctual. This story of beautiful young love makes us reflect on our own insecurities and to value correct timing.


Normal People is a tale of life causing trouble. As well as being Marianne’s and Connell’s love story, it is a reconciliation between feelings and thoughts. The book is thrilling, heart-wrenching and exquisite. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who feels that people change and for anyone who thinks life is always out there looking to cause trouble, because it is.