Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Wow, this book. I absolutely devoured it. The whole time I was reading it I kept thinking how I wish I had written it myself. It made me want to write fiction again, which is quite a feat because I’ve had not so great experiences with fiction writing in the past. 

One thing I appreciated about this novel was the lack of character growth. Weird, right? It didn’t seem to me that the main character “grew” so much as became more self aware. I guess that’s a kind of growth in and of itself. The character recognized her flaws and apologized for them when they negatively affected other people, but she didn’t make an effort at changing. To me, that’s more reflective of real life. Sometimes people just don’t change and you have to learn to exist with them anyway, or leave them behind. 

When I came to the ending, I was initially frustrated with the main character. She didn’t make the decisions I wanted her to make. She did create a life that worked for her, however temporarily. I wish I could follow the character of Frances and see how she would live the rest of her life, and whether she would start caring for herself. 

This novel, and the characters in the novel, were incredibly pretentious. It reminded me of how I thought in college, or at least how I was trying to think. I wanted to have lofty ideas and express myself well. Now I look back and wonder about how little I actually knew. 

As you can tell, this novel inspired a lot of self reflection, which in my mind is the mark of a 5 star book.

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