Normal People has become one of the defining novels of the past few years, proving a big success on both sides of the Atlantic. Described as a future classic by the Guardian, the story focuses on the relationship between Marianne and Connell as they navigate the end of their school days in suburban Ireland and subsequent time at university in Dublin together and the trials and tribulations that accompany their youth.
A breath of fresh air, this deeply captivating tale has been adapted by the BBC into a twelve-part series, an ideal opportunity to present a story I am eager to see on the small screen having recently picked up the novel.
The story delves into the minds of its leads and conveys a real sense of how much one means to the other and the lengths to which they will venture to preserve their relationship.
From the promos I have encountered, it appears the BBC have been true to the spirit of the book, and the casting of two relative unknowns in the lead roles is a masterstroke. Whether or not we need a twelve-part adaptation of a relatively thin source material is up for debate, but as the tale unwinds over a fair few years of the pairs’ lives perhaps we will be treated to some of the blanks being filled in.
Mental illness was deftly addressed in the book and the show may well prove as emotionally resonant in what is a strong representation of life in those formative years, while addressing class and identity to boot.
With the author herself involved in the production (great news for fans), the small screen version should deepen the story rather than detract from it, which will hopefully stand both Rooney and the BBC in good stead for their adaptation-to-come of her debut, Conversations with Friends.
If the national broadcaster’s attempt is even a fraction as good as its source material, we are in for an absolute treat.