Paperback, 323 Pages
Contemporary/ Adult/ Literary Fiction
By: Sally Rooney
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 1/2
“Gradually the waiting began to feel less like waiting and more like this was simply what life was: the distracting tasks undertaken while the thing you are waiting for continues not to happen.”
To be honest there are some books that I just go into blindly without even reading the synopsis for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it is a beautiful cover, sometimes a recommendation from a friend and in this case it was the hype this author was was getting and the fact that she has written it while she was 27 which is just 2 years older than me and I find that aspiring!
So it is hard for me to describe the plot of the book because if I wanna over simplify things, it is a story about Frances and her Ex girl friend Bobbie, both gets pulled into the world of journalist Melissa and her friend Nick. Frances who is bisexual falls for the husband and Bobbie kind of falls for the wife.
The writing is actually good, I think if it was not well written, I would not have had the ability to finish it but for a debut by a young author, the prose is polished. There was something weird going on with not using quotation marks and the story is told exclusively by Frances POV in first person narration. There were sometimes when the characters would go into philosophical discussions and use complicated words that did not add much into the story and I just read the author is a Marxist and a debater and I think there was some self insertion going on there.
“Everyone’s always going through something, aren’t they? That’s life, basically. It’s just more and more things to go through.”
Another reason that got me excited to read this but after getting the book was that it takes place in Dublin. I got excited for the Irish settings but unfortunately, I did not feel that it did take place there, it could have taken any place in the world because the settings were very generic and my excitement was pretty much short-lived!
Now the characters were unlikable and they made me uncomfortable and I thought the author wanted to do that intentionally. As mentioned above, we are stuck in Frances head throughout the book and she is kind of insufferable. I kind of related to her being cold in general because I myself was described as such by some people. But I just have less feelings about things than most people do and it is something that I am used to now and it was exciting to see that kind of represented in a book. But the dynamics in the books were kind of tiring in their repetitiveness, the characters do something stupid and then they regret it and then apologize and then overthink things and the cycle is repeated. The word “Sorry” is repeated 94 times in the book, I actually appreciate people who can apologize because it is not a common thing these days. My problem was that the apology felt superficial and not much growth followed that apology which made it kind of lame. Also I thought that Frances attraction to Nick was mostly for his hot looks, I can’t deny that he is a more complex character than that but the romance was very fast at first. I saw some people mention the word “Polyamory” but I can’t see the relationship as that, there was no consent from all partners and it was more of an affair!
And speaking of affairs -which the characters describe their relationship as- I could not decide if it was being romanticized and I still can’t shake that feeling that it was. I thought that the ending would decide how I felt on this an I won’t spoil the ending but I did not like the way how things ended. Also a few random things that came into mind were that smoking is mentioned a lot to sound edgy, the self harm thing was not well discussed and some of the threads were left loose. Also why were people using emails when it was clearly mentioned they have social media and messaging apps?!!?!
“I think I only appear smart by staying quiet as often as possible.”
Summary: I think my enjoyment of this book stems mostly of the technical parts like the language and the way it was written to still grip the readers with unlikable characters. However, the characters, settings and plot were not satisfactory in my opinion and I think on the long term, the book will fade in my memory and I will mostly remember the negative parts which makes me settle for a final generous rating of 3.5 stars!