Friends? (A Book Review)
Title: Conversations With Friends
Author: Sally Rooney
Coming Soon: July 11, 2017
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Stars
From The Back Cover:
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.
A chronicle of college student, Frances, her relationships and how she deals with them when they spin out of her control.
I struggled with how to write this review. Unsure if I empathized with the characters or was rather disgusted by them. In the end I decided that it was both. Told from Frances point of view, I really related to her, well at least for the first few chapters, with her excruciating self consciousness, social apathy and intelligence. I thought dang half her conversations or thoughts, could have been uttered by me, in fact some of them I know have been. Surprisingly, by the end of the book, I hated her, nothing but contempt for her. Frances had become the worst version of herself, and the whiny, self-obsessed girl, who had done things that I found to be reprehensible, brought me to the point where, no longer did I feel I related to her, but also, I could no longer even empathize with her.
Not really able to put the plot into words, actually I am not 100 percent certain what the plot was suppose to be, yet I could not put it down. Drawn into the lives of Frances and Bobbie, college students, former lovers and currently performers of spoken word poetry. We tag along as they meet a thirty something couple, Melissa a photographer/writer and Nick an actor. The foursome attend parties, send e-mails and even take a trip to France together. Conversations ebb and flow, and the cultural references are thrown out fast and furious. Frances and Nick share a kiss, then a bed and their affair continues through the majority of the book, where we find that Frances is cruel and Nick seems emotionally withdrawn, really can’t figure out what draws them together in the first place. As the story progresses, we watch as every relationship Frances has, her parents, Bobbi, Nick and a few other friends. Fractures and spins out of her control, her reaction to this is at times both infuriating and heart wrenching. Towards the end, we see that Frances has begun to repair the damage to her relationships, ending the affair with Nick. She seems to pull herself together a little bit. Managing to crawl our of her own head and begin to connect on a deeper level.
It’s mentioned, that all of this takes place in Dublin, Ireland. Aside from some cultural references and locations such as pubs and neighborhoods. It could have been anywhere at any time frame. I thought it interesting, that a place was even mentioned, though I suppose it’s always nice to have a point of reference.
The tone and writing style, are very well done. Overall I enjoyed the book, it’s not exactly a light and fluffy read, as there are several mental health issues highlighted throughout. However, it’s not super dark and depressing either. A fine balance. I recommend that you put it on your tbr list.
*I received a digital copy of the book for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I received no other forms of compensation.
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