Can you believe we are up to the fourth meeting of The Grown-Up Girls Report Book Club? If you have been reading our book every week then well done. If not, then do not stress – just read what you can, when you can. The aim of our virtual book club is to get us all back into reading. When life is busy and you are juggling kids, family and work then it’s often hard to find the time to read. Having 4 kids and too many balls in the air has meant I’ve had little time to read for many years. So, I’ve decided to turn things around and get back into books – particularly now we are all staying home and waiting out the Corona Pandemic.
Our book of the week is Normal People by Irish author Sally Rooney and I am joined by my good friend and literary expert Julie Collard to chat about this very interesting book.
Why Alex and Jules Chose Normal People
Normal People was released in 2018 to critical acclaim. It was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize – basically in the top 13 books of the year. It was also ranked 25th on The Guardian’s list of the best 100 books of the 21st Century.
It has just been released here in Australia on Stan as a 12 part TV series to rave reviews! And we all know we should read the book before we watch the show!!
And to seal the deal – Alex and Jules both had a copy at home. In fact, Jules was mid way through reading it! And when you’re reading a book a week – you need to keep it real!
What’s It About?
Normal People is a modern love story that follows the story of ‘millenials’ Marianne and Connell from high school to university. Whilst it could be seen as just a ‘will they or won’t they’ romance novel, both Jules and Alex see it as so much more. This is a coming of age story that delves deeply into the themes of social class and power.
About Sally Rooney
Sally was just 27 years old when Normal People hit the bookstands. Described by many as ‘the first great Millenial author’, both of Sally’s books have been predominately concerned with the power dynamics of social groups. Her fist book Conversations with Friends was released in 2017.
She is a self-confessed Marxist who regularly states that Marx’s dictum ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’ was a universal rule at home when she was growing up.
Like both Marianne and Connell, she attended Trinity College Dublin, and in her second year she earned a scholarship that allowed her to pursue a master’s degree in American studies. In interviews she often reflects that when she arrived at Trinity College, she was exposed to a social landscape that was different from anything she’d encountered before.
Why Should You Read It?
This is a universal coming of age story that anyone can relate to. It has all the normal themes: miscomunication, social class, power, transition to adulthood, and tensions around wealth and status.
It provides a great insight into modern relationships. So if you have teenagers or young adults, this book will definitely bring you up to date!
It will warm your heart – whilst there are painful moments in the book, it does also remind us of the transformational power of love!
Both Alex and Jules would recommend this book however they would suggest that potential readers be mature or worldly enough to handle confronting and uncomfortable sex scenes.
You can listen to the podcast via your favourite podcast app, or by clicking on the link below.
Thanks so much for being part of our book club!
PS Our book for next week is ‘Where The Craw Dads Sing’ by Delia Owens. This book topped The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 and the The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2020 for a combined 30 non-consecutive weeks. So – if you can get your hands on it – we’d love you to be part of it! xx