So the latest show to binge watch is on BBC iPlayer called Normal People.
It’s based off a book by Sally Rooney and being as pretentious as I am I decided to read it before watching the series (also I needed the challenge to see how quickly I could finish it, with just under 300 pages I managed it in 2 days)
I have to be honest by the time I was halfway through, and even at the end I was kind of annoyed by the main characters. (will attempt minimal spoilers but I do recommend either version)
Marianne is from a well off background and sees herself as superior to everyone else and doesn’t understand the confines of money or why people care about popularity. She’s bitchy and a product of her upbringing.
But Connell is precisely the same. After high school, he struggles to fit into the crowd and feels lost because of it. He’s used to being popular and isn’t sure about his career prospects after choosing a degree he actually enjoys.
They’re very different people. But have a strange bond that follows them over many years. Excruciating situations which find them off and on and in the middle not knowing where they stand with each other.
You follow each of their lives and the decisions they make and the different relationships they get into, and sometimes you want to scream bc it’s obvious how unhappy they are. Even together, they bicker and say the wrong things or lie or are let down with the expectations they had for each other.
She’s messed up, he’s clueless and it shouldn’t work, sometimes it doesnt.
The book (and show) is left with a disappointing ending, no big finale.
But it’s exactly what it says on the tin.
It’s such a painfully normal story it’s a bit of a shock to the system when we are so used to grand gestures and big romance scenes in books and films and TV shows. Sometimes people don’t fit and sometimes they do without knowing why. It’s genuine and honest and awkward, exactly the way life is.
It took me about 5 minutes reflecting on it to realise I actually loved getting to knowing these two young people trying to navigate through life and finding who they are.
I was fairly impressed by how accurate the tv adapatation was and found the continuation of some of the nuances in the book included in the show to mean I couldve easily just watched it without the written version and still gotten a good perspecive on the characters motivations and emotions.
It’s a good story about friendship, growing up, career choices, education, money, grief, depression, sexual relationships, bdsm, abuse, family relationships and a whole other range of topics that are sometimes the foundation of storytelling plots but some that are less discussed in popular media.
It feels real.
Because none of us ever really know who we are or how to act in predicted situations or maintain static personalities over the years. We make mistakes and have regrets and relationships don’t last forever but they can mean everything when they happen.
and that’s what makes us all Normal People.