Have you read a book that makes you an emotional fur ball and then climaxes with an open ending? Do you love or hate such a book? Let us talk about Normal People by Sally Rooney, shall we?
About the book
Book Name: Normal People
Author: Sally Rooney
Genre: Fiction – Drama
Characters: Marienne and Alan, and their mother Denise Sheridan , Connel and Lorrainne
Normal People begins with Marianne and Connell as teenagers who are from different social backgrounds attending the same school. Connell’s mother works in Marianne’s mansion. Connell is kind of the popular jock at school while Marianne is ostracized and is rather invisible.
They begin a sexual relationship but later puts an end to it, because Connell doesn’t want his friends to know about it. When they enter University, their roles reverse. Now Marianne’s intelligence and wit wins her friends while Connell feels so out of it and gradually slips into depression.
Their on/off romance continues and they lean on each other time and again, whatever their romantic entanglements were then. Did they end up with each other forms the rest of Normal People by Sally Rooney.
My initial thoughts
As I was saying earlier, Normal People made an emotional wreck of me. I rarely get affected so much by a book that I had to stop take catch a few breathes while I am reading. This book did that to me.
The plot as such is not anything that we have not read earlier nor very intriguing. But it is the writing and characters that made me come back for more, repeatedly. The protagonists felt so real that made me reach out to an old time friend, just to ask if they were doing fine. We all were normal people, once.
Flawed characters that are deep and emotionally broken? Sign me up. Her penchant towards self destruction and his gradual slipping into depression hurt me viscerally.
The only issue I had was not being able to understand why Marienne’s family hated her so much or some kind of background about it. Every time she felt unworthy and mistook abuse as love based on her family, especially the men, my heart broke.
I loved the social commentary parts in the book as much as inner thoughts of the characters.
What worked for me
- CHARACTERS. Such deep, flawed and real characters.
- I love plot-less plots, if you get what I mean. Character and angst driven plots are the best and Rooney did a great job at that.
- This might be a make or break thing, but for me, the open ending seemed like a perfect finish to Normal People.
What may have been better
- I wanted to know more about Marienne’s family and their treatment towards her. How and why would they?
- Some readers may have an issue with the style of Rooney’s writing. Trust me you will get used to it in a bit.
If you are interested to read a character driven plot that will affect you emotionally, Normal People should be your pick. Normal People by Sally Rooney deserves all the praise and accolades it has been getting. I am definitely reading more from Rooney in future.
Similar books for you
Have you read Normal People or anything else written by Sally Rooney? Do you like character driven plots? What other books that handle emotional abuse and depression exceptionally well? Let us talk.
You know what makes a winter night cozier? Hot chocolate? Yeah, that too but more so a romance. It has been years since I read a Nora Robert but I remember seeing Come Sundown on the Amazon top seller list I decided to give it a go.
I have read Nora’s books earlier and I knew what I was in for with Come Sundown. I knew I was going to have a solid plot, well-drawn characters, and that happy ending. Did she give me what expected? You will have to read the review to know more.
Book Name: Come Sundown
Author: Nora Roberts
Genre: Fiction – Romance thriller
Characters: Bodine, Rory and Chase Longbow, Callen Skinner, Alice Bodine
Setting: Montana, The USA
The story begins with Alice Bodine’s abduction in 1991 and moves ahead to introducing us to the present day Bodine resort run by Bodine Longbow. The upscale Bodine resort along with the Bodine ranch, run by her brothers Chase and Rory, offers the ranch experience to its guests.
Bodine has no time to think about her love life and her whole life revolves around her family and running her resort. All that changes when Callen Skinner, her childhood crush, and her brother’s best friend comes back to the town and starts working at the ranch. The couple has always liked each other, but they decide they want to keep it casual. How far would they go before they realize they are destined for each other?
What could have been just a mere romance (gasp, did I say mere?), turns into a thriller when bodies of two women associated with the Bodine family turn up. As if that was not enough to rise a havoc, Aunt Alice returns to her family but severely abused and traumatized. Is there any connection between the murders and Alice’s return? Or is it Cal’s return that we have to worry about? You will have to read Come Sundown to know more.
Heavily marketed as a romantic suspense, Come Sundown could have easily been a thriller. The romance part didn’t work well for me (more on that later) but the mystery and thriller part held the book tight. It might come as no surprise that thriller is not a new genre for Nora, as she has been writing thriller under her alter ego J.D. Robb for a long while now.
Nora’s books have always had a great emphasis on the familial bonding and subplots make them worthwhile. Come Sundown is no different. Rory and Chase’s romantic lives play a great distraction from the leads’ story. Which brings me on to Bo – Cal love which was tepid at the best. Apart from the physical attraction they have been harboring since their teenagers, I never found anything clicking between them. No passionate love that is usually promised by the genre. It is supposed to be a romance, dammit.
The most interesting character in the book was Alice Bodine. Hers was the only one that had a development. I have always loved reading about psychos; and social outcasts. Well, her suffering through rape and physical abuse caught me right into the story.
Nora’s writing is exceptionally good and I have come to expect nothing less from her. All you Nora Roberts’ fan you will love Come Sundown. If you are new to Nora’s writing, it will take a bit of your time to get into the setting and just sit through the introduction to every character in the story. If you can get through it, you will not regret this 400+ page romantic suspense, or as I call it a thriller.;
Last week I helped someone to pick a King book, and this book piqued my curiosity. Two sleepless nights and 500 pages later, here I am with a review of the Rose Madder. Am I a King convert? Read on to know more.
About the book
Book: Rose Madder
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Fiction – Horror, Supernatural
Main Characters: Rose McClendon Daniels, Norman Daniels, Bill Steiner
Setting: Aubreyville, The USA
The story is about a woman, Rosie who escapes her abusive husband after a torturous period of fourteen years of married life. She makes an abrupt decision to leave, and she leaves with his credit card. The Husband, Norman Daniels, is a cop who takes pleasure in hitting, kicking, punching and oh, biting his victim.
She leaves him for good and is saved by a home called “Daughters and Sisters.” She tries to start her life anew and it takes a spin when an oil painting catches her fancy at a pawnshop, which she buys trading her engagement ring.
She also is smitten by the guy at the pawnshop, Bill Steiner. Norman eventually finds her and is resolved to kill her. On a perfectly normal plot, King takes in a supernatural twist. You should read the Rose Madder to find out more. Let me know if you have any nightmares.
The plot about a weak woman who escapes her maniac husband and starting her new life, was pretty solid and realistic. But the 20% of the book where the painting and the supernatural stuff got involved, did not actually work for me. What I actually got me continue the book was the characterization. Even the smallest character was etched to almost perfection.
Norman and Rosie were clearly in contrast – Norman being macho and sadistic at last turning into a scared and pathetic person, and Rosie the timid wife to strong and persevering woman who could handle her stuff when she had to. Gert, Anna and even Pam were well detailed. And of course Bill, the most weakly portrayed of the story – probably just to differentiate him from THE Norman.
I had not read the blurb (or whatever the description on the back cover is called) so reading the prologue was quite a shocker, as I already mentioned. Most of the abuses were narrated much later by Rosie, saving the reader from nightmares.
The scary part of the book was not the supernatural things that happen but the human monster himself. I could have liked Norman for all the villain he was – strong, no nonsense, macho, his malevolence and all that but turning him into panic stricken and delusive mode at the end spoiled him a bit for me – though it was absolutely scary and realistic.
The story could have ended well before the last 50 pages where I had to push myself to complete. In fact I would have liked the book better without the supernatural phenomenon – probably it is just a “not you, it’s me” thing.
What worked for me
What may have been better
- The book could have been shorter by 50 pages and it still would have had the same impact to the climax.
- This is a personal ME thing: the paranormal part didn’t scare/torture me as the human factor did.
I loved it. Rose Madder is the go to book I would and have been recommending if you are looking for a place to start Stephen King books. It is not too big like some of his other works, so the size wont be as intimidating. But it might still haunt you at night.
Similar Books and posts
Have you read Rose Madder by Stephen King? What other King books have you read and which one blew your mind away? Let us talk.