In which I review a book that I anticipated having more than one paragraph to say about
Friends, I was not a fan. I thought I was going to like it, in fact didn’t really prepare for the eventuality that I would not, so this put me at a loss. I often found Sally Rooney’s prose exciting and pointed—it was the story I took issue with, and just as often felt that the prose was wasted on the plot it was trying to convey. This plot was, more than anything else…predictable. Popularity shifts, not-like-other-girls/boys characterization, detached (dare I use a word like tawdry) sexual relations without a tremendous amount of emotional context. Each of the central couple hangs out with just awful people otherwise, whether platonically or romantically, so their choices aren’t especially sympathetic; I was baffled much of the time. Maybe I just don’t know how Ireland works (for the record, I never claimed to). I have not seen the series, nor am I terribly inclined to, as the writing essentially gave me all the picture I needed. It seems the story resonated with not a few people, which almost certainly skewed my expectations in its favor going in, which in turn made what I was met with all the more jarring. I won’t actively dissuade anyone from reading it; I’ll simply say it was not what I thought I was signing on for, and unfortunately not for the better. Rooney clearly has potential, and I do look forward to reading more from her, including her first novel, Conversations with Friends.
Image: Faber & Faber, 2018