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Ah, young people. I don’t get people my age and I don’t get people older or younger. And I don’t get fiction. But this is the next big thing so why not? You can always stop reading if it’s too weird.
But it wasn’t! Or it was but in a compelling way, like you wanted to find out what happened to the characters. Which is why you read in the first place. However, characters who aren’t exactly compelling or relatable are usually not easy to attach to and take an interest in, so rarely will you take the time to keep reading. Especially when the writing is good but not delicious, clean but not Hemingway, interesting but not as interesting as most my group texts with other moms.
It went by so quickly, I guess I must have really enjoyed it. Still not sure.
This text dwells on some of the same themes as Rooney's second novel, Normal People, and certainly has a similar community of characters, but I found that rather than detract from the power of either novel, these connections lead to a synergistic effect. Several readers in writing reviews of this text seem caught up in their disapproval of Conversations' main character, Frances; but it is worthwhile to set aside one's value systems to listen to the "conversations" in Conversations with Friends. Not only do these conversations suggest we might pick at our assumptions of how to do things right and find that interrogation fruitful, Rooney's text also underscores the immense value of honest communication and friendship. In this text the main character, Frances, is a university student hampered in her ability to define herself in relation to others partly because her emotional development was stunted by the effort to seal herself off from the daily chaos of living with an alcoholic father. Rooney's text asserts that entering adulthood with the kind of shell Frances has built around herself prevents her from making honest or meaningful communication with others, and because having healthy social networks is key to happiness, Frances simply isn't happy. I'm simplifying here, but in short I was stunned by the originality and intelligence with which Rooney explores the vital significance of our conversations with friends.
I did not like this book. Frances was a very unlikable character, and as a millennial woman myself, she still seemed very unrelatable — to be so reclusive and withheld, even among her friends, she didn't seem human at all. I was also upset we didn't get to read any of her writing, just her IMs... I mean she is a writer?
I've read Rooney's Normal People and her style of writing and the characters she creates seem so bland and could easily have been recycled throughout her works. I tried so very hard to finish this book, but once the characters returned from France near the end, I decided to return it, thinking: Why would I care to find out?
Well talk about a lot of unlikeable characters!!! I only finished this trash because it was a book club selection. I'm not saying that the author can't write...it's just that her subject matter is trash.
I am sorry, I was not a fan. Maybe I am too old to appreciate the poly relationships or the millennial dark view. The girl needed counseling bad. I am 52 so the whining got on my nerves. I read it with an open mind for “read harder” challenge for book riot website.
Loved this book! Frances is a frustrating and honestly annoying narrator which makes you more invested in the characters. I loved the simplicity of the story - because of course the most simple stories are the most complex.
My book club was split on Conversations with Friends, although no one seemed to feel too strongly about it either way. There were definitely members who felt that the characters were shallow and self-involved. Others felt there were redeeming qualities to those same characters. All seemed to agree that the book was well-written.
I was entertained and kept reading even though I couldn't always relate to the situations and characters. However, I finally connected with the main character and narrator, 21-year-old Frances, in the last third of the book. I thought that she finally "grew up" as a result of life circumstances that were beyond her control. I thought she had a journey from someone who didn't want to have feelings and show vulnerability, to someone who decided to take the risk and tell those she loved what she felt for them.
That worked for me. It's not a book I would normally have read, but I can't say I regret having done so.
I agree with Walconus who writes a review on this book. The style of writing is deceptively easy yet the concepts and complications covered in this book are not. Personally, I really liked the ending of this book. Refrain from peaking so that you can savour the ending as a final bite of a fine meal.
The New Yorker called this some of the first millennial literature. The style might seem bland at first, but if you stick with it, you see it is Frances telling the story, and that's her voice. The story is frustrating as the characters repeat the same "blunders and blinders" while they make they way through their relationships. There are mainly four characters, forming various shifting love triangles, which seem ultimately to be getting nowhere. This would be a great book for a college class or reading group that wants to discuss contemporary love relationships. It would provide a heated discussion. Frances, the chief protagonist, explores life on a philosophical level: "A certain peace had come to me and I wondered if it was God’s doing after all. Not that God existed in any material way but as a shared cultural practice so widespread that it cam to seem materially real." Frances does not have many of these times of peace in the novel, mainly because she is caught in the bindings of young love. In fact, she seems to really love two people. I would like to know what happens when Frances matures. The cover, with its painting by Alex Katz, seemed perfectly acceptable as representations of Frances and Bobbi. I'd give this novel another half star because it is Sally Rooney's second published. I'll look for and read her next one.
An interesting and engaging book told by a 21 year old narrator. Cool,wry and smooth, honest, arid humour and reckless despair The "delicate cruelties of human interaction". Francis is a bisexual communist student , allergic to expressing emotion having a relationship with a married man.
I liked the style of writing! Made it a quick read, I sped through this in one train ride
“first great millennial novelist for her stories of love and late capitalism”, as per NYer
While so many readers loved this book, my returning thoughts along the way- what? I almost put it down, hoping it would get better, but for me - it never did go deep enough into the characters motivations to leave me with a can't wait for the next one.
I love how she writes. The no quotation marks may turn people off, but it forces you to absorb every word, every sentence. I felt I was wholly engaged with the nuances of their interpersonal relationships. Loved this book
Every young person who reads this is going to think it is only about their age group. In some ways it is, when their parents were this age, there was a much greater societal pressure to get your ass in gear and earn a living wage. But as far as the relationships are concerned, at 70, I can say, things are not that different. Reading it at my age, I can remember the stupidly wasteful way I treated relationships just because I was insecure, like the protagonist is.
The wonderful thing is the way it ends. Relationships are messy, we need rules, but rules are stupid too.
Rooney aptly describes the romantic relationships between four main characters, two younger women and a somewhat older hetero couple. The story examines current thoughts about monogamy and sexual identity. The characteristics of each individual adds to the complexity of their connections.
This book is interesting as it requires you to follow thoughts of the main character and her inner voices, and emotionally invest yourself into that process. It could be disturbing and quite intense at times. This book holds your attention till the end and shows how some relationships (and why) could either fail or benefit you. Sally Rooney is very talented. I’ll remember the name.
An author to watch-this book was definitely readable but ultimately out of synch with my version of reality. Her 2018 release was long-listed for the Booker Prize.