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Image / Editorial

‘Beautiful and thoughtful’: Here’s what everyone is saying about Sally Rooney’s Normal People


by Jennifer McShane
26th Apr 2020
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With the much-anticipated TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People getting its Irish premiere this coming Tuesday, UK audiences were treated to the full series today as it landed on BBC iPlayer. Ahead of the premiere, we’re rounding up some of the early, glowing reviews about the series


In Normal People, school friends-with-benefits Marianne and Connell are, from the outside, opposites who attract and begin a romance that takes place in relatively ‘normal’ settings — in a bedroom, at a party. Connell’s mother is Marianne’s cleaner yet he is popular and she is not. He struggles despite this and when the tables turn and college years arrive, she blossoms while he is simply tolerated by those around him.

Simply put, the novel is superb — and about so much more than a complex modern love story. Class, wealth, power and an innate understanding of the mistakes we make as human beings, it’s all here. It was made for the screen. And by the sounds of it, its small-screen adaptation has hit all the right notes.

Related: Book review: Sally Rooney’s beautiful coming-of-age love story

You can imagine the anticipation when a 12-part BBC adaptation was announced with Rooney herself co-writing the episodes and Room‘s Lenny Abrahamson down to direct. Early reviews have said it’s utterly compelling; that it gets the balance of heady teenage love with painstaking intimacy in the Irish setting perfectly on point, as desire bubbles beneath the surface for the couple (the sexual chemistry and authenticity of the love scenes is mentioned in almost every review). Here are our favourite roundups so far:


Normal People will premiere on Tuesday, April 28th on RTÉ One