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Hux

Normal People

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Putting this in Chick Lit makes sense. Because that's what this book really is despite it's awarded winning hype.

 

In terms of the actual writing it was mostly enjoyable but my, the hype was not justified. At the very minimum I expect a book to be an enjoyable read. 

 

This was a Mills and Boon romance novel for the contemporary age. Every time a book like this wins awards and gets praise, I come to the conclusion that modern books are written for the growing demographic of people who... don't actually like reading books. Firstly, there's nothing remotely 'normal' about these two characters. I'll skip over the predictably dream-like otherness of Marianne and focus on the utterly non-existent Connell. I'm sorry ladies, but that guy (calm, thoughtful, caring, emotionally mature, intellectually honest, culturally sensitive, performatively left-wing, etc) only exists in the heads of women -- women writers in particular. Connell isn't just these things by the end of the book. No, he's these things from the very start, as a teenager. You know, like most teenage boys are.

 

These two people are highly popular, good looking, the smartest in school, having regular sex, and are apparently off to university where they'll be going travelling around Europe and becoming writers. Normal people, you say?

 

I was genuinely quite irritated but this book. It's everything I hate in fiction. I was half-expecting a final chapter to reveal that Marianne was sexually assaulted as a child (perhaps by her father, maybe even by her cartoonishly evil, moustache twirling brother) but thankfully, that didn't happen. I was also slightly offended by the implication that women (or men, for that matter) who enjoy rough sex have some kind of underlying mental health problem. I did, however, like the ending. These two millennial idiots can't seem to communicate their feelings. Even at the end when she tells him she's going  to New York, they can't adequately express themselves. I do wonder what point Rooney was making though. It's not as if her generation are famous for being emotionally closed off. If anything young people are more prone to expressing their feelings than any other previous generation. Maybe she was criticising that - modern people sleep with everyone without consequences but... gulp... maybe there actually are consequences. Sigh.

 

I honestly couldn't tell if the book's title was ironic or if it was a clever twist on those awful romance novels (what if, instead of a pirate and a curvy wench, it was a saucy romance between two... normal people). Geddit?

 

This is an airport book. That's fine but airport books shouldn't be winning literary prizes. 

Edited by Hux

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