In school, Marianne and Connell ignore each other. They come from different social backgrounds. Marianne is from a wealthy family, while Connell’s mother is the cleaner for Marianne’s family. Although Connell is popular, Marianne is bullied and ignored.
Away from school, the two become lovers. However, a misunderstanding about their relationship causes Connell to hurt her and they break up.
At college in Dublin, they meet again. This time, Marianne is popular with a set of bright students and Connell feels like an outsider.
Normal People is the minutely observed story of a friendship and an on-again, off-again love affair. It has been widely lauded, but it was hard for me to be interested in this story of two very immature people. The relationship is a long series of misunderstandings that separate the two but do nothing to teach them to communicate more honestly.
It’s not that I disliked this novel. It’s just that I found myself getting impatient while wondering where it was going. When it finally got there, the conclusion was underwhelming.