Watching Normal People with the husband – conversations in a bookish household

There is a floral tea cup and saucer (vintage looking) with a name tag/gift tag and it sits atop a pile of five books. The books look old, you cannot see their spines or their names as they are placed in a way where the spines are to the back.
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

I thought I should write it all down lest I forget. (Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t read Sally Rooney’s Normal People)

Last night we watched Sally Rooney’s Normal People. (Not all of it, some episodes remain to be seen.)

A friend had gifted me Rooney’s novel when we moved from the UK to Ireland.

My husband hadn’t read the novel. While he is a reader too, we have different tastes and preferences.

So here is how my husband reacted whilst watching the series. (And if I may dare say, with growing interest and actually getting hooked to the story and the central characters. It also helped that the novel is set in Sligo; we visited Sligo in June last year and the husband fell in love with the landscape and the tabletop mountain Benbulben whilst there)

Husband: These people are having too much sex. Is this all about sex?

Me: Of course not. Doesn’t Murakami have sex?

Husband: But I read those parts super-fast. Plus, Marianne and Connell are in school.

Me: Can’t generalise either way, but it seems that some people start having sex while they are in school.

Husband: But isn’t this too much sex? Is Rooney like a softer version of the Fifty Shades of Grey author?

Me: I don’t think so. There is much more nuance, and the characters and story is layered. And I don’t think Rooney is going to like being compared to Fifty Shades of Grey, but well, who knows.

Husband: Okay, but the teacher hitting on Cornell? Aa na chale. This is not done. Teachers aava hoi? Are teachers like that? They can’t be like that.

Me: He isn’t her student anymore when she hits on him. And throughout history, romance/affairs between teachers and students have always been there. It’s very well documented, I think.

Husband: But why are Marianne and Cornell all so sad? They are always sad.

Me: It’s dysfunction, and damage. That’s where the complexity of the characters and their families and circumstances lie.

Husband: But the boy keep crying.

Me: Boys can cry, you know. Just because you don’t.

Husband: But why are they so unhappy with their lives?

Me: Why is anyone unhappy with their life? Aren’t we all unhappy in our own individual ways?

Husband: You have read the novel. Does one of them take their life?

Me: I am not telling you.

Today morning.

Husband: Shall we watch the rest of the episodes? You are not telling me if one of them takes their life or they marry each other.

Me: No, I am not telling you.

Husband: These people are very unhappy.

Me: But very interesting no? You are talking about watching the rest of the series.

Non-committal nod and murmuring follows.

Me: Will you read the book afterwards?

Husband: Let’s see.

5 thoughts on “Watching Normal People with the husband – conversations in a bookish household

  1. Hilarious conversation! I think I could be friends with your husband too, his comments sound a lot like my thoughts on similar shows I’ve seen. I haven’t read the book and don’t feel tempted, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello. The husband, sadly, wasn’t persuaded to pick up the book. He just couldn’t get why they were all so unhappy, and why insisted on having so much sex whilst they were in school. On a brighter note, he has bought himself the kindle edition of the entire Harry Potter series after mocking me for reading them. As for your other question – I think the book (as books usually do) describe the complexities of the characters and their lives in more depth and nuance, and I think some of it is lost in the TV series. You may want to give it another chance because if you have read the book, you know a lot more, even the parts that series skip or don’t go into detail. And I am so thrilled to have discovered your blog; and love what you have done. The husband would love to have a look because he is a great cook, and does so much of the cooking in the house. He would love to do a little of what you have done so far!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OK, I will give the series another shot.
        Thanks for your nice words on the blog. Please let me know which recipes interest your husband.
        I’ve enjoyed reading some of your posts, look forward to working through your back catalogue…

        Liked by 1 person

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