Monday, 2 April 2018

Book Review: Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Title: Conversations With Friends

Author: Sally Rooney

Pages: 321

Publication: 25th May 2017 by Faber and Faber

1 line synopsis: Frances, a 21 year old writer, gets entangled with an older married couple along with her best friend/ex-girlfriend


I thought I was okay with the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist but now I have read Conversations With Friends, I am shocked at its absence from the list because it. is. brilliant.

From the outset, I greatly appreciated reading about a character at a similar stage to myself who hadn’t got it all figured out. Frances isn’t sure of herself and analyses everything around her to try and figure out what it means about her and I really empathised with this. It is true, she and the other characters in the novel aren’t always the most likeable, but they are complex and so well-developed that you find yourself rooting for them anyway.

I loved the style of writing use by Rooney which, as the name would suggest, is heavily conversational and feels more real because of it. There aren’t poetic strings of words to analyse for days but instead straight-to-the-point snippets of thoughts and conversation which reveal, clear as day, a character’s personality - or indeed their perception of their personality, which can sometimes be more telling. The style of writing made me feel so much more connected to all of the characters and really made the reading experience exceptional for me.

If I were to describe Rooney’s book in just one word, I would say it is refreshing. Refreshing in that the characters are flawed, complex and yet strangely relatable and also refreshing in terms of plot and content. Within Conversations With Friends there are discussions of polyamory and non-typical relationships, there are unconventional family dynamics explored, and also discussion surrounding chronic pain and endometriosis and the effect this has on a young woman’s life. Additionally, I loved the fact that Frances' bisexuality is not A Big Thing but is instead just part of her character, and it's never used as a plot device - it's just who she is. It all felt like new ground that was expertly written, and I was incredibly grateful for it.

If you’re even considering giving this book I go, I highly recommend you go ahead and pick it up. I loved it so much and I keep finding myself wanting to go back and re-read it already, which for me is the sign of a five star read. I’m so glad it’s getting some recognition in the way of literary prizes - although I don’t think I’ll forgive the Women’s Prize for not longlisting it!

If you've read Conversations With Friends, I'd love to hear what you thought in the comments below! For more of my book reviews, head to my book review catalogue.