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“Normal People” by Sally Rooney – The Beauty of a Boring Book

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

Would boring be the right word to describe one of Rooney’s most popular books? Little character development, cliche story, and a flat arc. Any person can conclude that a book of these qualities falls under the category of a ‘Boring Book’. The school nerd falls in love with the jock and after a decade long love story they come to no final conclusion of their relationship.

At first, I despised the mundane realism of Rooney’s writing. Readers witnessed the obvious trauma inflicted on both main characters and how that impacted their own hopeless, messed up family relationships, friendships and love. Yet there was zero analytical thought or insight that explained the psychology of why they chose to act that way. It is an endless collection of suggestions to conclusions that are never reached or even brought up. But sitting there I realized that the evident gaping holes and flatness in the characters was depicting “Normal People”.

In life, we merely witness things without any explanation as to why. We are left with questions and conclusions that we must create in our own heads. Often this leads to miscommunication and unresolved conflict that begin to show within our relationships. Perhaps Rooney’s intention was for us to read the story and view that we too, only witness events and actions without explanation. The gaping holes in the story are meant to be filled with our own opinions and thoughts. Whether we decide those are satisfactory, is up to us. Just as the main characters fail to ever fully understand how they truly feel about each other it is clear to say that none of us will ever either. That is the beauty of “Normal People”, a book truly about us, as normal humans.

My name is Yuni Choi and I am a second-year at the University of Virginia. In my free time, I enjoy organizing my Spotify playlists!