Conversations with Friends (★★★★☆)

Conversations with Friends

Sally Rooney   *   Hogarth   *   July 11, 2017   *   304 Pages

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Frances and Bobbie are best friends in their early twenties. Despite the fact that they used to date back in the day, they still have an easy friendship. They also perform spoken word poetry together and are basically inseparable. Their relationship is tested, though, when they meet a quasi-famous and free-spirited couple, photographer Melissa and her actor husband Nick. Bobbie immediately develops a crush on Melissa, which goes nowhere. But Frances surprises herself by falling hard for Nick. Over time, their relationship becomes something…more, and, as you might expect, things get complicated.

 *   *   *   *   *

I heard this book described (many times) as intellectual and dark. I don’t know if I completely agree with that assessment, but I would say that it is moody and a bit pretentious. Honestly, I didn’t expect to like it much at first, what with that whole “detached twenty-something who’s too cool for school” angle. The weird thing, though, is that I did really enjoy it. The story moves along nicely, and even though I was able to predict many of the plot points, some moments really surprised me—especially the ending—and I appreciated that.

Also, there is just something likable about these characters. They could be annoying, but I liked that they felt whole and true—flawed and damaged, but also earnest and genuinely trying to figure things out. I also kind of loved the book’s unconventional ending. I liked how it acknowledged the complexity of relationships, especially marriage, without judgment. I’m not sure how realistic the final “arrangement” actually is, but I still enjoyed reading something not so choked by mainstream expectations. It was refreshing.

Advanced Reader Copy provided through Amazon Vine.

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