My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Book & Author: Conversations with friends by Sally Rooney
I had to think an entire day to write a review for this one. This book was recommended to me by one of the shop attendants at Waterstones, who had said, “Although this seems like a chick lit, it isn’t actually, and has very deep and meaningful conversations that you will enjoy reading. Believe me, buy this book, this is the book all the big publishing houses wish they had published“. He had sold this to me, and I was really intrigued. I started right away. In my head, I had expected this book to be similar to one of my favorite movies, ‘Before Sunrise‘, when I bought it. Oh how badly was I going to be mistaken.
When I started reading the book, I enjoyed the set up of the characters and I kind of knew where the relationships were heading.
Two young idealistic and head strong women with high EQs, who are majoring in history and literature. Add in an older married couple – where the wife is a photographer and an author and the husband, a failing actor who has his own emotional struggles. A lot of backdrop with conversations and family background, discussions on polyamorous relationships, politics, morality, etc- and I started to think, this is going to be really interesting. Maybe not Before Sunrise, but a mature book along similar lines of the movie, Vicky Christina Barcelona? But again, I was mistaken as the book progressed.
My favorite part of the book were the moments Bobbi and Frances shared together at coffee shops, or when they lived together and their conversations. I love friendships and conversations like these. I also enjoyed reading the time everyone had in Paris, with lunches, breakfasts, walks on the beaches and nearby villages, eating ice creams, etc- I could picture a lazy, no-care for the world, intellectual sort of vacation on a beach with rich people myself! Lol
However, this is no chicklit and not a light hearted read at all. It touches upon very serious subjects such as extra marital relationships, struggling with body image issues, self deprecation with even traces of depression, the effect our parents have on our up bringing- if they have a problem with addiction or broken marriages, etc. It just seemed to me that Frances had to deal with a lot many of these problems and her personality struggled with a lot of depression and in built shame that she tried to resolve or forget by harming herself emotionally or physically. I could understand that, because I know I have done somethings similar in the past and maybe all of us have that in us- going through a bad relationship just to justify something, or hurting ourselves to forget the other emotional pain. But to top this, she even has an actual physical illness and she feels she has no one to confide into, although we know from the book that at least three people care for her deeply and would help her, if she asked.
The second half of the book really upset me though, and I myself started to feel like I was going down the road to depression again, which is not a good place to be in, trust me, especially if you have a family and a young kid. The lead character just keeps doing the same mistakes again and again, and there is no happy ending (at least I didn’t find the ending happy or even positive, maybe others will contradict).
This is a well written book, but I really wish I had read this at a different time in my life, since my feelings affect my little one and with all the day to day challenges, I think it is better to at least read something positive and happy, with a happy ending than such a heavy book:) I hope the rest of the books on my TBR list aren’t this sad or heavy.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it?