written by Sally Rooney
A cliche love story that writes into humanity.
from the online bookstore Books.com.tw
Normal people seem to be a cliche love story if you just read the introduction at the back of the book cover: a young couple getting together, breaking up, getting together again, breaking up again, and finally getting back together.
The writing style is simple and plain, a bit like Hemingway, but all phrases appear to have deeper meanings behind them. They are quite elusive, philosophical, and even a little psychotic, like the humanity of Connell and Marianne.
They look to be lack of passion in life, and indifferent to all judgy people around them. But I could feel that quiet anxiety and depressive mood lying behind, and they probably reveal all the voices that are repressed inside everyone. We in this modern world are living in a very restrained way, to be honest. Oftentimes we chat, laugh, and seem very much relaxed and chill, but a sense of alienation always creeps into our mind, secretively.
Here are some parts I find interesting in this book:
Marianne’s hatred towards school, Connel’s view on literary events, and their after-making-love-debate on social issues regarding capitalism, racism, communism, and gender issue.
I grinned when I read Marianne’s feeling like being imprisoned in a school. Although she appears to be trapped most of the time, in her family, school life, or abusive relationship, school life seems to be the one that I could relate to the most.
I like that sense of anti-elitism of Connel’s view on those literary events. “They were attended only by people who wanted to be the kind of people who attended them.” Not only for literature though; we always have the tendency to let ourselves look good instead of truly becomes better.
As for their debate on the injustice of capitalism, racism, elitism, on any other social issue, fully expresses how the generation is bombarded with information and news of crisis. We share that sense of powerlessness in face of all these events and injustice. How do they resolve this sense of powerlessness then? By making love. Well, at least one’d be fulfilled and feel secured while surrounded by another one.
And, after all the cynicism pervading in the previous chapter, you could imagine why I feel the ending almost unbelievable:
They’ve done a lot of good for each other. Really, she thinks, really. People can really change one another.
We get to reach a such positive and inspiring ending! And this is probably the only and most optimistic part of the entire book. Please don’t take me wrong; I do like this ending. But to be honest, I thought they were going to break up again right before this. What a surprise when I read till the end!
So, this is a pretty grey and gloomy description of humanity and life for me. But strangely, while flipping the pages, you’ll feel cured by that little warmth that permeates gradually through that gloominess. After all, it’s not only a cliche love story but a story that goes down to Millennials’ identity, in an alienated modern world.