Sally Rooney: why she's boring as f**k

SHE’S the literary sensation of the century, but are her books understatedly fascinating or remorselessly banal? The latter. Here’s why:

Fuck all happens

Marianne and Connell fancy each other, shag, break up, go to university, shag other people, Connell goes to New York, the end. Sorry, spoiler warning. Frances and Bobbi meet Nick and Melissa, Frances and Nick have an affair, break up, Frances and Bobbi get back together or do they? Who the fuck cares? More happens in Aliens Love Underpants. 

The characters are tedious bastards

If you give a shit about the inner thoughts of messed-up self-obsessed millennials, get on Twitter where they spew them live. Five minutes and there’s been more going on than in 12 f**king episodes of Conversations With Friends. Gerbils have more emotional depth and chemistry than these monotonous, personality-free middle-class pricks.

She writes the limpid prose of an instruction manual

Rooney’s spare, minimalist prose has seen the hyperbolic compare her to Ernest Hemingway, but his books at least had war and bulls in. Can you really justify wasting your life reading sentence like ‘Felix found a solution for the issue with the shower unit’? Your dishwasher manual is equally stultifying and comes in 12 languages.

Even the titles are colourless

Normal People. Conversations With Friends. It’s the crap you say when being overzealously interviewed by a boss asking what your friends are like and what you do to socialise, because you can’t say ‘Total Nutters’ and ‘Do Ketamine in a Quarry’.

We only went mental for Normal People because of lockdown

Normal People came on the BBC in April 2020 and people were obsessed. Other obsessions of the time: baking banana bread, washing the shopping, Zoom quizzes, hoping Boris Johnson would live. There was sod all to do. A blandly handsome man gave PE lessons and we lost our minds over it.

You aren’t allowed to not like them

What, you didn’t like the books where conceited twats meandered aimlessly around their unexpressed emotions while at dinner parties? What’s wrong with you? Didn’t you get it? Are you semi-literate? Do you hate Millennials? Would you prefer a Jilly Cooper novel with a higher shag-to-page ratio? Yeah, who wouldn’t?

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Your astrological week ahead, with Psychic Bob

Aries, March 21st–April 19th

‘Mary Magdalene wasn’t really Jesus’s girlfriend. They were more like fuck buddies,’ you explain, to your Sunday School class.

Taurus, April 20th–May 20th

Where exactly do you cross over the line from ‘sex enthusiast’ to ‘pervert’? Asking for a brother-in-law.

Gemini, May 21st–June 21st

Whenever you hear the term ‘blended family’ you can’t help but imagine them all in a food processor.

Cancer, June 22nd–July 22nd

Why would anyone like to see a snake charmed anyway? Would you watch a lion being chatted up? A bird beguiled?

Leo, July 23rd–August 22nd

Americans think British people all have bad teeth. Not true. Some guys you know down the flat-roof pub don’t have any at all.

Virgo, August 23rd–September 22nd

Chalk and cheese aren’t that different. You could mistake one from the other from eight feet. Chalk and fire have far less in common.

Libra, September 23rd–October 22nd

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Scorpio, October 23rd–November 22nd

Amazing to think that every single thing in your home and life would look like a load of cheap nasty shit the moment you won the lottery.

Sagittarius, November 22nd–December 21st

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Capricorn, December 22nd–January 19th

Once you read a book, but then they made a film of it. You’re not falling for that again.

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If the shoe fits, you can’t be in TK Maxx.

Pisces, February 19th–March 20th

Congratulations! You’re the newest member of Death’s Mariachi Band!