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This book is incredible Read it in one day. upping this to 5 stars because i can t stop thinking about it, and also in all that thinking i can t remember a single flaw I AM FEELINGSO MANY THINGS.review to come 4.5 stars i bought this book 2 days ago and have not really put it down since I didn t really respond well to Conversations with Friends The writing itself is quite good in terms of realistic dialogue and description, but I found all of the characters entirely unlikable and hard to empathize with, very few with any positive animating traits, mostly just self absorbed, narcissistic, occasionally cruel and capricious Either in addition to or because I didn t respond to the characters, I also didn t respond to the plot well the stakes seemed very low, there seemed to be little personal growth from any of the characters despite this being a story entirely focused on people rather than situations , and when or less the entire main cast is unlikable, it can be hard to invest in an outcome Because the craft itself was strong, I d give this 2 stars and say it s ok overall, but I wouldn t recommend it personally.The central conceit is two twenty something friends and former lovers, Frances and Bobbi, get pulled into the orbit of photographer Melissa and her actor husband Nick Then France and Nick become drawn to one another, and begin an affair that leads to uncomfortable situations and confrontations with Bobbi, Melissa, and their friends and family members It s set in Dublin, Ireland, but the way it s written and the poetry art acting cultural trifecta it hits, it may as well be set in California It didn t feel particularly Irish at all, so I was a bit lost on sense of place and specificity.We see things from Frances perspective, which might be part of the difficulty with this read for me Frances is entirely selfish she begins the book that way, and aside from maybe inches of character growth, she also ends the book that way We re told how intelligent she is, but she seems to be perpetually blushing, blundering into things, acting cruelly and capriciously when it suits her, and retreating to dark corners to cut herself when she s incapable of expressing her true feelings It didn t help that Frances is also living off an allowance through her father, not feeling pressed at all to support herself for much of the novel, content to wallow in her feelings for Nick and assert dominance and indifference to him to disguise her growing dependence and obsession with him They say it s love, but honestly these characters are all so selfish it s easy to think that they say it s love but it s not Nick meanwhile is a somewhat caddish, sad, broken and oppressed man, mildly unhappy with his life but without real power or impetus to change it Not all characters need to be likable in order to enjoy a novel about them I can think of plenty of anti heroes and somewhat nasty characters that are delightful to read but I struggled greatly trying to empathize with these characters, finding very little compelling about their personalities and their decisions, but also not being poorly behaved enough to be completely disgusted with them That made it very difficult for me to engage and be entertained or informed while reading Bobbi is a decent side character and has a greater, complex personality, while Melissa never comes across as than a controlling, dominating woman possibly because we re in Frances perspective, and Bobbi is her former lover and best friend, while Melissa is her rival for Nick s physical and emotional affection and attention.When the focal point is an illicit, uncertain relationship and the rest centers on other relationships spiraling and changing in reaction, you don t want the writing to put distance between you and the characters As good as Rooney s craft is, I did feel as though I was peering into their lives and their messy actions but at arms length, and again hard to say if the writing was responsible or my disinterest in the characters I would want to feel immersed in the action, pulled in and maybe disgusted or titillated or both, but fundamentally unable to look away very much how I felt reading White Fur With Conversations with Friends, I was just bored, feeling the distance and not caring that neither myself nor the author was taking pains to close the gap And the scenes of sex and intimacy did not feel charged or challenged they seemed pathetic and pitiable, but in the most banal way, so I had little sympathy for Frances or Nick as they embarked on their affair There s not much to it again, it s a novel of relationships, and there aren t huge plot elements or set pieces or massive emotional bombs It quietly crawls along, never fully climaxes, and resulted in a sort of ambivalent ending that made a lot of sense to me based on the selfishness of these characters I do believe Sally Rooney has writing talent, and there are some good paragraphs and dialogue in terms of craft But I could not connect with this book at all, and was too bored by the characters and wearied by the proceedings to hate them Again, the writing was good enough that I think it warrants two stars, and perhaps other people will find that speaks to them from this book But it was absolutely not for me. 2 STARS shoulder shrug Unfiltered review the synopsis of the book had me excited I just knew I was going to love this book It sounded like I was going to get a little bit of YA and NA combined into one brilliant masterpiece Sadly, for me, that did not happen.I want to start with the first and deepest reason why I never connected with this book It s a big one, lovers.There are no quotation marks It was extremely annoying reading a book when I couldn t tell if a character is actually talking to someone or if there s some inner dialogue going one Half the time I didn t know who was talking Let me give you a quick example and you can decide for yourselfBobbi, I said Does my face look shiny Bobbi glanced back and scrunched up her eyes to inspect me.Yeah, a little bit, she said.I let the air out of my lungs quietly There wasn t anything I could do now anyway since I was on the stairs already I wished I hadn t asked.Not in a bad way, she said You look cute, whyIt was the most distracting thing to deal with in the entire book I can respect an author s desire to be different or to try something new but this, no quotation thing was way too much for me As an avid reader, I severely dislike loads of grammatical errors A few here and there are not a problem but too many bothers the shit out of me If I were the editor for this book I would have advised the author on the 100 different ways why, whatever that thing was, was a silly, silly, silly idea.I know that I often have many grammatical errors in my blog post, but I m not a professional writer and my husband is my editor , so I don t really care If I were to write an actual book, trust me when I say that I would pay a great deal of money for a professional editor with a great reputation to edit the shit out of my book.Not once did I feel connected with the characters It was like sitting through a movie when the actors were complete shit The main character, Frances s, lack of self esteem and self loathing was too much Everything about her was flat I couldn t care less about her life if I tried Everything about the way her character was written was very stoic and mater of fact.Not once did I see an exclamation point Every sentence ended in either with a period or question mark There was no passion for the words This went on for the entire book I was so bored Three hundred page of detached and impassive words.All in all, this book wasn t for me and I wouldn t recommend it for any of my reading friends, ever I wish the author great success in the future.Oh, shit, I forgot to let you know if I liked the story No, I did not It was odd and unbelievable that could have been down to the writing as well If I wasn t asked to read and review this book from the publisher, I would not have finished it. This was stupidly good After recently loving Rooney s sopho novel Normal People my expectations for Conversations With Friends were high, though I was also a bit wary in these situations I m always afraid an author s debut isn t going to live up I needn t have worried This was perfect from start to finish You know that feeling when you miss a stair and your stomach lurches briefly before you land this was that sensation in book form.Once again I was impressed with Rooney s writing it s simple and seemingly effortless, but the kind of natural and conversational cadence she achieves is no easy feat The simultaneous intelligence and lack of life experience of the narrator, Frances, were captured so convincingly from the start this was a person that I wanted to understand, whose head I wanted to inhabit briefly Sally Rooney writes about interpersonal dynamics with such skill and ease and sharp observation, and that was the shining point of this novel, but whenever Frances looked inward, those moments were also captured with the same unnerving clarity I related to Frances and I didn t I saw bits of myself in her and I found bits of her unreachable But Rooney made me care, she earned my investment as I watched with sympathy and frustration and anxiety as Frances attempted to navigate an awkward, ill thought out affair with an older married man, a dynamic which only complicated her limited understanding of love, class, status, artistic freedom, and belonging.If you can t handle books about unlikable, selfish people, you aren t going to enjoy this, and in that sense alone I don t necessarily believe this book transcends its premise It s about unlikable, selfish people, many of whom are blind to their privilege It s not about the kind of people you want to be, or want to be friends with But if you re willing to sacrifice likability for realism, and an unpredictable plot for moments of startling self reflection, this is the book for you I actually ended up preferring this to Normal People, but both are a solid 5 stars and I am simply delighted that Sally Rooney s books have entered my life. The narrator of Sally Rooney s Conversations with Friends at one point states that she never wants to work I had no plans as to my future financial sustainability I never wanted to earn money for doing anything I d felt that my disinterest in wealth was ideologically healthy I d checked what the average yearly income would be if the gross world product were evenly divided among everyone, and according to Wikipedia it would be 16, 100 I saw no reason, political or financial, ever to make money than that.You have to put up with this girl for 321 pages Have fun My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.Compelling and cool, Conversations with Friends places millennial malaise and an unexpected love affair against the backdrop of summertime Dublin The fast paced plot follows a pair of privileged college aged performance poets and exes, Bobbi and Frances, as they become entangled with an older, slightly famous married couple, Nick and Melissa The bulk of the story concerns the rise and fall of Nick and Frances s romance The two flirt by messenger, bonding over their shared lack of direction, armchair socialism, and sharp wits Frances soon has sex for the first time with Nick, the two vacation at a French beach house, and, inevitably, Melissa discovers and cooly responds to the affair The fallout is messy and strange Interestingly, the drama of the story is overshadowed by the novel s incisive dialogue The conversations Frances has with Bobbi, Nick, and Melissa assume a variety of forms furtive email messages, muted face to face interactions, rushed texts and the characters muse about everything from love under late capitalism to the merits of anarchism The rapid conversations, along with Rooney s exhilarating prose, make the novel move at a dizzying pace Well worth reading. Audiobook read by Alice McMahonThe audio narration was wonderfully alive an addictive Granted this isn t exactly a book a parent would ever recommend to their young adult 20 ish old child daughter or sonas this is not an educational book on inspiring relationships But for me as a 66 year old married fart who values honesty with little to zero respect for adultery consented is up to the couple lies destroy others.Regardless..I enjoyed the conversations the funny sensual scenes, and all the drama I felt Rooney s dialogue flowed so well it didn t drive me into my head my body simply absorbed the telling of this story Some books are selfishly for ourselves as this one turned out to be for me.I won t even begin to try to intellectualize why I liked it but I did I m won t recommend it to most people..because for starters I don t usually recommend books about messy affairs But I gotta share I laughed silly when I was in the hospital parking garage looking for a parking spot listening to a sex scenewhen Frances the narrator says to Nick the night of their first cheating Rondevoo he s married..it was the first time she had sex with A MAN, tooFrances says to Nick Boy, I m sure I liked that than you did I laughed so hard I missed an available parking spot This is one of those artsy, sexy literary naughty books about young relationships with all the things you DON T want YOUR daughter mixed up in Shhhh, I LOVED IT I ve been thinking a lot about aging lately the way our perspective changes and how our need for stability, trust and healthy relationships become so much valued than intoxicating, crash and burn emotional roller coasters of our younger years.I say this as means of introduction because while reading Conversations with Friends, it occurred to me that those readers who are not familiar with the confusing yet exhilarating times of poor choices mixed with a great deal of egotism and sense of invulnerability may not like or relate to these characters It s easy to miss the precision dance that Sally Rooney is performing here.But then is this book about the poor choices of youth or about one particularly fractured character who is destined to keep making those choices into adulthood The book centers on two girls in their early 20s our narrator Frances and Bobbi, her best friend and one time lover Together, they make the acquaintance of a couple a decade older the composed and successful Melissa and her handsome husband Nick, an emotionally fragile actor whose career seems to be stalled despite an abundance of talent Inevitably, Frances and Nick hook up, wrecking damage on their own world and on the worlds of everyone around them.The conversations alluded to in the title are eloquently expressed but never get to the heart of things Frances, who is unable to admit her love for Nick even to herself says, We can sleep together if you want, but you should know I m only doing it ironically Or later I just don t have feelings concerning whether you fxxk your wife or not It s not an emotive topic for me Of course it is, and the constant self harm Frances imposes on herself picking furiously at her nails, biting her inner cheek, cutting herself reveals the extent that her repression is harming her.As Frances whirls in place, the product of an alcoholic father, an enabler mother, and her own making, the core of Frances reveals itself she feels like a damaged person who deserves nothing, believing that those she loves are exalted and somehow special Suffering wouldn t make me special, and pretending not to suffer wouldn t make me special, she reflects at one point To reveal oneself is dangerous in a world that often conspires against you This is one of the most interesting psychological profiles I ve read in a long time with an ending that made me gasp. ^Free Kindle ☋ Conversations with Friends ☂ A Sharply Intelligent Novel About Two College Students And The Strange, Unexpected Connection They Forge With A Married CoupleFrances 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 ExpectAs 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 MomentWritten With Gem Like Precision And Probing Intelligence, Conversations With Friends Is Wonderfully Alive To The Pleasures And Dangers Of Youth