Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed, and darkly observant. A college student and aspiring writer, she devotes herself to a life of the mind–and to the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi, her best friend and comrade-in-arms. Lovers at school, the two young women now perform spoken-word poetry together in Dublin, where a journalist named Melissa spots their potential. Drawn into Melissa’s orbit, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband. Private property, Frances believes, is a cultural evil–and Nick, a bored actor who never quite lived up to his potential, looks like patriarchy made flesh. But however amusing their flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy neither of them expect. As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally even with Bobbi. Desperate to reconcile herself to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances’s intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new: a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment.
Well, I ended up liking this book more than I was expecting. I went into this book with not necessarily low expectations, but definitely hesitant expectations. On Goodreads, people either rate it five stars or three stars, so I was expecting to be one of those and I ended up in the middle.
For me, this book started slow. It took me ages to get through the first third-ish, and I had to force myself to focus on it. But, once Frances and Bobbi go to France with Melissa and Nick, it picked up for me (okay maybe a bit before then, around Nick’s birthday).
This is definitely not a plot-based book, so if you like plots, stay away from this book. It’s 100% about the characters.
Luckily, I ended up loving the characters in this. They’re infuriating and annoying, but they seemed so real. I thought Frances was a really interesting main character and I liked reading from her perspective. I liked her and Nick’s relationship, and how weird and fucked up it was, but how they also still really cared about each other. I liked Frances and Bobbi’s relationship and thought it was such a good representation of friendship and romance. I liked seeing the development of how Bobbi viewed Melissa, and thought that was so interesting and realistic. So what I’m trying to say is I liked the characters and their dynamics.
It was also really well written, and I think Sally Rooney’s writing just really works for me. I will definitely be picking up her other work soon.
That’s all I really have to say about this book, honestly. It started slow, but picked up, and had great character dynamics.
But have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me at all? Let me know!