Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

BLOG“Gradually the waiting began to feel less like waiting and more like this was simply what life was: the distracting tasks undertaken while the thing you are waiting for continues not to happen.”

Conversations with Friends was a bit of a mixed bag for me. The novel is split into two parts, the first of which I did enjoy and found easy to get into. Part two is where it really lost me and I bounced back and forth from being interested to simply not caring. By the end I just felt confused by the whole thing. It is not a story about a group of friends really, but rather one about a young woman and a relationship she embarks on, along with her thoughts and insecurities with regards to her own worth and her relationship with the people in her life.

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Frances is twenty-one years old and best friends with Bobbi, who she had had a romantic relationship with in high school. The two perform spoken word poetry together, and at one point meet Melissa who is a journalist and wants to do a piece on the two friends. This leads to a friendship and a strange dynamic that develops between the two young women and Melissa and her actor husband, Nick. The novel is told from Frances’ perspective and while at times her observations are interesting and contemplative, she mostly comes across as very disinterested and removed. This would be fine, except that it is the case with all the characters which eventually grows rather tiring and contributes to an overall lack of depth. I am one of those readers that enjoys novels with unlikeable/flawed characters, but while the characters in Conversations with Friends are most certainly flawed, they inspire zero emotion or interest. What I did really like was the writing style, which flows very nicely and has a realistic, real time feel to it. Ultimately the story just did not come together for me.

*ARC provided by NetGalley. Publication date: July 11, 2017.

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